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Stuck in Edinburgh

Brian Taylor | 16:36 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Politics can sometimes seem remote; divorced from popular concerns.

That is emphatically not the case with the current controversy over the weather.

Everybody has a story to tell, including MSPs. Labour's Charlie Gordon disclosed that he had, personally, been marooned by the snow. For two nights. In Edinburgh.

Which was, he said, a cause of some grief "for a dyed in the wool Glaswegian."

Worse, he had been obliged to subsist "in the clothes I stood up in." Enough, enough.

Perhaps it was personal experiences like this, perhaps it was a reflection of public fury but the session was notably tetchy in points.

Mr Gordon argued with the witnesses and with the convener, Patrick Harvie, who indicated fairly plainly that he had heard more than enough from his Glaswegian colleague.

Settling down

Even with a change of suit.

Jackson Carlaw of the Tories also seemed to dislike the tone of the exchanges - and made his feelings evident.

But things settled down in time for John Swinney to assume his most reassuring, bank managerial demeanour. (Actually, strike that: banks aren't what they were. Fill in your own reassuring profession.)

Mr Swinney apologised - again. He stressed - again - that the snow had been much worse than forecast.

Then he outlined a six-point action plan which was being worked up by the new Transport Minister Keith Brown.

(Mr Brown wasn't in post last week so didn't have to defend the government before the committee.)

It was a confident, competent performance by Mr Swinney.

Next storm

He stayed calm - only becoming mildly animated when suggesting, ever so gently, that folk (especially folk driving HGVs) might care to pay a little more heed to warnings that the roads were tricky.

As far as it went, it was fine. Questions were asked. Answers were given. The formalities were observed.

But this was, quite literally, the calm before the next storm.

Scotland's revised preparations will be tested not in committee, but on the roads and rails.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:00pm on 14 Dec 2010, john wrote:

    Brian,
    So nothing is happening in politics apart from the weather. What about RAF leuchars and Lossiemouth (not forgetting Kinloss). What about the privatisation of the search and rescus services. What about the Wikileaks revelations regarding Megrahi?

    I find your obsession with the weather very British.

    John

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  • 2. At 5:00pm on 14 Dec 2010, soosider wrote:

    Surprised that this is still a story, but think it has more to do with our always having something to say about the weather, for some its their sole topic of conversation. Really when you look at the facts of the matter 2 to 5cm of snow forecast, BBC weather reports up to 9am on the Monday were forecasting this with no hint of the severity of what actually happened, which was 20 to 30cm of snow in a few hours. Not surprisingly this overwhelmed all the agencies, all the Local Authrities and caught out the SG.
    I had hoped we would have a post on the latest crime figures or perhaps something on the rate of inflation or the counsel of economic advisers recommending Full Fiscal Autonomy, but no it is the weather.
    This really is a sad reflection on the Holyrood Parliament that they do not let the facts get in the way of a good girn.
    These facts about the weather have been confirmed by the Met Office by Cosla and various LA throughout Scotland

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  • 3. At 5:13pm on 14 Dec 2010, handclapping wrote:

    Brian
    Its all very well the polis, Highway contractors and all being herded together. They have contractual and / or statutory duties to co-operate with the civil power in case of emergency. However this is the information age and I have been unable to find any requirement for the BBC in Scotland to co-operate with the Scottish civil authority as the whole BBC does with the Westminster authority. Is this another oversight by the Calman commission and should it be part of the proposed new Scotland Bill now under consideration? Would not that have been a better use of the committee's time?

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  • 4. At 5:14pm on 14 Dec 2010, HughEdinburgh wrote:

    Brian,

    It'll be interesting to see what Mr Gordon's expenses claim for this is like.

    As other people have said, there is more going on in the world than snow.

    Where do you go and what do you do when you're not on here anyway?
    Swooping around all the media connections making sure everybody sticks to the correct agenda, no doubt.

    People seem to forget that under Labour, people got stranded in their cars. However, I never saw any great probing interest from the media then, and especially no attempt to bring down a government over it.
    Time for you and your Labour chums to get back to the real world, and real work, which should be doing your best for Scotland, not trying to discredit the Scottish Government all the time.

    Of course, part of the problem at the moment is there is less money around to deal with everything, especially extreme weather, due to Westminsters mismanagement of the countries finances.

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  • 5. At 5:15pm on 14 Dec 2010, minuend wrote:


    The fact is that those people who travelled on the motorways in and around Glasgow were themselves not prepared for the severe weather than unfolded.

    How many motorists had winter tyres?

    How many lorry drivers had anti-jackknife equipment fitted on their lorries?

    How many motorists and lorry drivers packed extra clothing and appropiate footwear?

    How many carried shovels in their boots?

    How many carried food and drink?

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  • 6. At 5:18pm on 14 Dec 2010, bmc875 wrote:

    "It was a confident, competent performance by Mr Swinney."

    Surprisingly accurate Brian.

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  • 7. At 5:19pm on 14 Dec 2010, chowbelanna wrote:

    The last thing I am or ever will be is an SNP supporter but I would like to congratulate the Scottish Government and in particular our new transport minister for their plan to deal with the next bout of bad weather. IMO it is sensible, realistic and well thought out. If they can impliment it (and I'm sure they can) it should make a huge difference to how we as a nation cope. Sadly the one thing they cannot be resposible for is the attitudes of many of our larger businesses. My own (small) business has been experiencing almost catastrphic consequences from the last bout of weather. We have had no broadband for over a fortnight, no heating oil for a week, disrupted deliveries etc. Several suppliers we use seem to have used the bad weather as an excuse to be even more rubbish than usual. I would, however, like to give credit to two outstanding examples who have really gone above and beyond the call of duty: the postmen (both at work and at home) and our local Citylink delivery man, who have forged through mighty drifts to get to my house. Thank you to them and PLEASE other companies take note; the Scottish Government seems to be doing its utmost to plan ahead, please, try and help in their endeavours.

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  • 8. At 5:23pm on 14 Dec 2010, spagan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 9. At 5:48pm on 14 Dec 2010, Sheneval wrote:

    Brian: "Everybody has a story to tell, including MSPs. Labour's Charlie Gordon disclosed that he had, personally, been marooned by the snow. For two nights. In Edinburgh."


    At least he didn't have to spend two night/s in Princess street, unlike the Hunger marchers in 1933 who, after the first night, were refused accommodation by the Edinburgh Authorities and bedded down on the south side of Princess Street with blankets and newspapers spread out for mattresses, to the astonishment of the crowds of theatre goers and motorists who stopped to survey the scene until moved on, and the consternation of those in authrity who had expected the refusal to disorganise and disperse the March.

    If the Student Protesters want to take to the streets about Uni Fees etc. they should follow the example of the actions of the Organisers back then who made everyone attending the March sign a declarartion, (including name and address), that they would maintain discipline, thus giving no excuse for the police to attack them. Result: no riots, no vandalism but the message got across.

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  • 10. At 6:07pm on 14 Dec 2010, Upbeat wrote:

    Again several points that Scottish Ministers will not be aware of.

    In much of Europe the movement of heavy lorries in snow actually keeps the Autobahn network clear. W The weight of teh lorries and the heat from their tyres keeps carraigeways free of snow for longer.

    Cars know not to move in and out between the lorries and instead keep their distance. Unimpeded lorry drivers can maintain momentum while keeping adequate spacing because overtaking by HGV's is not permitted in adverse conditions.

    In Britain lighter HGV axle weight legislation has produced a large number of three axle / one driven axle articulated tractor units. These are hopeless in snow. We also permit over high vehciles...Europe has a 4 mtr maximum standard. To anyone familiar with the continent, the number of so called "jack knifed" lorries on UK roads is amazing. There must be an engineering reason that UK HGV Plating test inspectors are ignoring, besides the axle weight restrictions. But where heavier driven axles are permitted,as in most of Europe the expression Jack Knife lorry is hardly ever needed.

    If ministers remove HGV's from the road network whenever there is snow the country WILL grind to a halt. What is needed in adverse conditions is for temporary access restrictions to the motorway network which will permit complete inter-junction sections to be cleared effectively.

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  • 11. At 6:08pm on 14 Dec 2010, taimoshan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 6:11pm on 14 Dec 2010, taimoshan wrote:

    "fill in your own reassuring profession" - unfortunately it won't be journalist any more. Charlie Gordon - my God!

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  • 13. At 6:11pm on 14 Dec 2010, coineach watson wrote:

    The SNP should offer the Transport Minister's portfolio to Ian Gray then sack him if he makes a cock-up of it. That surely would put his gas at a VERY small peep.
    I would imagine the population, en-mass, would fall about laughing. Great vote grabber - but for whom???

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  • 14. At 6:32pm on 14 Dec 2010, Gary Hay wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 15. At 7:19pm on 14 Dec 2010, The Fickle Finger wrote:

    The weather forecast on the radio when I got up on Monday (the second time it snowed) was for 'light snow showers with maybe two or three centimetres of snow'. I guess the minister heard the same one as I did.

    I can't claim expenses for when I couldn't get home - I had to crash at a pals house. Are our ministers and MSP's incapable of putting each other up in an emergency or does the fact that we'll pay them back for their hotel stays just make the usual common sense and desire to help your fellow human in an emergency go out the window?

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  • 16. At 7:20pm on 14 Dec 2010, AnotherExpat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 17. At 7:28pm on 14 Dec 2010, tamO wrote:

    "Charlie Gordon disclosed that he had, personally, been marooned by the snow. For two nights" what i got from the committee sitting was that he stayed over in a fancy hotel for two nights. but then the bbc in Scotland seem to have away with words that turns anything into a work of fiction.

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  • 18. At 7:31pm on 14 Dec 2010, Dave McEwan Hill wrote:

    #2

    Indeed.
    This is not a story.
    It is a concoction.

    The real story today is the announcement of the new Southern General, to be Scotland's biggest hospital and to be built, by the SNP Government, completely with public funds.

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  • 19. At 7:40pm on 14 Dec 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    "It was a confident, competent performance by Mr Swinney."

    Indeed it was. In stark contrast to the appallingly boorish behaviour of the British Labour Party as represented by Charlie Gordon. It is this kind of aggressive negativity that puts people off politics. Plaudits to John Swinney who steadfastly refused to sink to Gordon's abysmal level - sticking to the facts as he knew them; offering a rational critique of the government's performance; and looking for practical ways to improve that performance in the future.

    I know which of these two I'd trust in a crisis. And, for the avoidance of doubt, it is not the badly behaved schoolboy from the BLP.

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  • 20. At 7:45pm on 14 Dec 2010, cwh wrote:

    Mr Taylor you wrote:
    “”Everybody has a story to tell, including MSPs. Labour's Charlie Gordon disclosed that he had, personally, been marooned by the snow. For two nights. In Edinburgh.
    Which was, he said, a cause of some grief "for a dyed in the wool Glaswegian."””
    ------------------

    Which was as nothing to the ‘grief’ felt by the citizens of Edinburgh at the thought of it!

    Mr Taylor wrote:
    “”Perhaps it was personal experiences like this, perhaps it was a reflection of public fury but the session was notably tetchy in points.””
    ------------

    A fair measure of the ‘public fury’ to which you refer is in fact directed at the game playing antics of the opposition parties and their scripted hysterics in the chamber last week and to the misinformation broadcast by this organisation and their refusal to acknowledge it when everyone can hear the broadcasts of the misleading forecasts for themselves.

    --------------------------
    MrTaylor wrote:
    “”Mr Swinney apologised - again. He stressed - again - that the snow had been much worse than forecast.””
    --------------
    And again and again he was RIGHT.
    Did you not listen to the Radio Scotland broadcasts on Monday morning between 6am and 8am? Or to the Met Office forecasts reported to the Scottish Parliament by Mr Stevenson? Even the Met Office has admitted that some of their forecasts were not accurate why not the BBC?

    And why, Mr Taylor, no mention of the senior policeman’s evidence in which he pointed out that closing the motorways was not an answer because you displaced the problems onto the tributary roads as well. Roads which, even under the best of conditions, cannot cope with that volume of traffic and would become quickly gridlocked. This would also put the residents of towns and communities served by those roads at risk because the gridlock on those roads would mean that emergency services such as fire and ambulance would not be able to get through to them if required.

    Closing the Motorways was of course what Mr Gray said he would have done if he had been in charge although it did take him until the week-end to think of that.

    The behaviour of the opposition parties has once more been shown to be one of over-riding political opportunism rather than mature judgement underpinned by serious analysis of the pros and cons of any action they propose. Their narrow parochialism has been thrown into sharp relief when compared with the behaviour elsewhere when faced with a serious situation. If it is their intention to carry on in this manner until the election, and you have claimed in previous blogs that it is, then they will get very few votes.

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  • 21. At 7:48pm on 14 Dec 2010, cwh wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 22. At 8:01pm on 14 Dec 2010, tullibardine wrote:

    I truly despair at the seemingly inexorable descent to parochialism and opposition purely for opposition’s sake Holyrood is taking. Was Billy Connolly right after all?

    No doubt Goldie, Scott and Gray will be waiting with crossed fingers that the next snowfall is as bad as the last. The opposition to everything parties don’t give a damn about any inconvenience caused to the general public. In fact a couple of chaotic days would suit them nicely – so much better having a much bigger stick to brandish at the SNP.

    Yet considerable swathes of Europe and North America are experiencing large snowfalls causing chaos and loss of life, but as yet, I haven’t read any governmental resignation demands.

    As the late great Bud Neil wrote: ‘Winter’s came the snow has fell….’

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  • 23. At 8:04pm on 14 Dec 2010, bencruachan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 24. At 8:08pm on 14 Dec 2010, paul Hunter wrote:

    7. chowbelanna
    What a very strange confesion. You would never vote for the SNP. Why not? You must be really happy then with the status quo as the English National Party's at Westminster are imploding and bringing everyone down with them. The blatant media carpet bombing of the SNP and Holyrood plus all three other main parties with identical policies and flying under the one banner...either you are dressed in wool and say 'Baa' or you have no bone of ambition in your body. I feel sorry for you.

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  • 25. At 8:14pm on 14 Dec 2010, sideshowmanny wrote:

    "Politics can sometimes seem remote; divorced from popular concerns."

    Not unlike this blog then, eh?

    Wikileaks, Megrahi, vindication of Scottish Government? Thought not, I suppose we only get that news on the Scottish news site who's name is forbidden on here...

    It's winter, it snows, roads get closed... This is the first government I've seen blamed for snow in winter and inaccurate forecasts by the Met office and the BBC.

    I realise I'm just repeating what every other person has said in the comments but that in itself should tell you something, no? Come on Bryan, when will you start giving us some proper, balanced reporting on politics?

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  • 26. At 8:14pm on 14 Dec 2010, Gary Hay wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 8:18pm on 14 Dec 2010, gunnergoz wrote:

    A decent Scottish Minister stands down effectively because the communications could have been better, not because he failed to grasp his wider portfolio with a degree of professionalism that some on the opposition front bench could only dream about.

    Forced out because the message didn't get through quickly enough... but at least he delivered the mesaage eventually. He resigned.

    The BBC is in the communications industry, it too has a responsibility to inform. On Monday 6th December on GMS some would argue that the BBC, due in part to an ill judged interview with a Met Office expert, misinformed its listeners. Ha sanyone resigned. I only ask because I am aware you are not allowed to go further on a blog like this as it 'breaks the house rules'.

    I only ask because i believe from your very own website that agreement has been reached to allow the BBC to communicate with the Chinese masses again through the medium on the internet.

    You can now communicate with the Chinese again, but at what cost elsewhere? Moderators operating on the basis Bejing protocols on all BWB blogs perhaps?

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  • 28. At 8:29pm on 14 Dec 2010, Vakov2000 wrote:

    I see the BBC obsession with the weather continues unabated. Has the BBC began an enquiry into how there weather forcasts were so wrong? Have they looked into why the public was so badly informed by the BBC who along with the met office underestimated how bad the weather was? I take it since a government minister resigned due to being caught out by the weather heads will roll at the BBC? Are they also having an enquiry into misreporting how wrong the BBC got the weather and the then deleting iplayer weather forcasts to hide the evidence? Then reporting 24/7 on a government minister who was misinformed by the same forcasts?

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  • 29. At 8:31pm on 14 Dec 2010, VN wrote:

    New 6 point plan. Er, whatever happened to the need for better communication which was about the only thing the last Transport Minister apologised for? 7 point plan needed.

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  • 30. At 8:32pm on 14 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 31. At 8:38pm on 14 Dec 2010, Freenonbrit wrote:

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  • 32. At 8:45pm on 14 Dec 2010, baircash wrote:

    An American here. Raised in the State of Maine , I moved to Boston 40+ yrs ago. Both areas get their fair share of snow. Being from Maine I was appalled at the snow removal in Boston. For the longest time, the God brought it here & God will get rid of it theory of snow removal was the norm.
    Not unlike your present situation, we had the blizzard of 1978. Closed the City of Boston for a week. What a great week it was. Community social cohesion was at its best.

    The blizzard did bring a change as to how the snow removal was handled.
    States & cities do not have a lot of snow removal equipment. The capital costs/maintenance cost are too high. There is a large dependence on independent contactors to do the work. This has been a work in progress. Shall we say that some but not all the contractors gamed the system.GPS & other high tech controls have had results in limiting the gaming but it still happens. Is this superior to you plans? Don't know. We still get caught with out pants around our knees with a faulty weather forecast or worse yet local gov encouraging people to leave work early resulting in huge traffic snarls that have very little do do with snow. I still know when I leave Maine, drive thru New Hampshire & arrive at the Massachusetts border, my speed will be cut in half by the quality of the snow removal

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  • 33. At 9:09pm on 14 Dec 2010, kadok wrote:

    I found Labours Charlie Gordon very irritating, sarcastic and down right ignorant.
    Labours Charlie Gordon Gordon even ignored the fact that the met office admitted they got it wrong.



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  • 34. At 9:21pm on 14 Dec 2010, AMJHAJ wrote:

    Interesting to watch the weather forecast on Reporting Scotland tonight. The forecaster made great play of repeating, twice, possible heavy snow by the end of the week. It seemed very like someone in the BBC has acknowledged that they had got their forecasts wrong, very wrong, last Monday - and didn't want another week of frantically having to cover their tracks. But surely a respected organisation like the BBC should publicly admit to their inaccuracies? Why would they be seen to attempt to re-write what really happened with the forecasts. Surely, SURELY, they wouldn't want to mislead the public ... and lead the charge to force a minister to resign ...

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  • 35. At 9:42pm on 14 Dec 2010, garnqueen wrote:

    re weather forecast for more severe snow this coming weekend i hope councils listen more to our own forecasts rather than that produced by Meteo Group uk of Enfield who supply councils with severe weather warnings,earliest being 07-00 hours to allow treatment of roads before 07-30 hours rush hour. Given that snow was forecast locally since the Friday surely was enough preparation time. If the same company gave a wrong forecast to Mr Stevenson as it obviously did to councils is it any wonder traffic chaos occurred. By the way, their forecast for Thursday is for the snow to remain northwards and central belt to be cloudy/sunny. Ach, Sean, you have got it wrong again!!!!









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  • 36. At 9:54pm on 14 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    When the opposition has to resort to the fickle Scottish weather in there political agenda aided by the media shows they are running out of ideas to justify their very existence. What next? a meteor shower, lack of daylight, only 7 days in a week.....

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  • 37. At 10:02pm on 14 Dec 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    Good evening Scotland.

    I'm only an amateur weather forecaster but in my humble opinion there is more snow on the way - probably from the very early hours of Thursday morning.

    This opinion is based on collating data over many years of the number of berries on my rowan tree at this time of year and the number of visits made by my resident back garden robin to stock up at the bird table prior to a cold blast from the north.

    Lots and lots more snow.

    This time, you have been warned.

    I always rely on these scientifically proven methods of forecasting rather than thermometers, barometers, isobars, wind patterns and seeweed hangings that the met office use.

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  • 38. At 10:09pm on 14 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    Over 170 jacknifed lorries lets ban all lorries Brian as they are at fault for causing the chaos.

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  • 39. At 10:22pm on 14 Dec 2010, tenswen_dnaltocs wrote:

    15. At 7:19pm on 14 Dec 2010, The Fickle Finger wrote:
    The weather forecast on the radio when I got up on Monday (the second time it snowed) was for 'light snow showers with maybe two or three centimetres of snow'. I guess the minister heard the same one as I did.

    I can't claim expenses for when I couldn't get home - I had to crash at a pals house. Are our ministers and MSP's incapable of putting each other up in an emergency or does the fact that we'll pay them back for their hotel stays just make the usual common sense and desire to help your fellow human in an emergency go out the window?
    ***********************************************************************



    Stop there and think, are you realy asking us to imagine that the wee nyaff has friends?
    Would you let him crash on your couch? (shudder)

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  • 40. At 10:26pm on 14 Dec 2010, Harry Stottle wrote:

    I don't think the old Foulksellian scare story that we would no longer have access to the BBC in an independant Scotland will cut the mustard any more.

    In fact, it will probabally spur many more people on the road to freedom if they carry on using peoples licence fees to churn out guff like this day after day.

    Does the Beeb intend dragging this non story out till May, Brian?

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  • 41. At 10:40pm on 14 Dec 2010, Alex Bisset wrote:

    Just watched the BBC Scotland News to check what I heard on the early bulletin, but Charlie Gordon MSP (labour transport spokesperson) really did say shut the motorways to grit them. And he slagged of the guy who WAS the transport minister for being incompetent???? Is it me? Who votes for these people?

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  • 42. At 11:05pm on 14 Dec 2010, ady wrote:

    Scotland...stuck in the slow lane.

    All the weather did was highlight the anti-car bias in Scotland, culminating in a complete breakdown of our transport infrastructure.
    So fuel stations ran dry, bread was one loaf one customer and the "main motorway" closed for two days.
    I say "main" because the two lane donkey track between Edinburgh and Glasgow is the only stretch of motorway between Edin-Glasgow-Portsmouth which is not three lanes.
    Political dogma is turning Scotland into a third world enclave.

    So what do we have:
    Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda halt online orders in Scotland
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11980827
    Scotland has been effectively written off by the business community, they don't believe this country can even deliver christmas tat on time.

    Missing link to be finished on M8 motorway
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-11991702
    We're falling so far behind more advanced countries even the incredible geniuses of the Scottish Government can't fail to see that transport upgrades are desperately needed.

    Keith Brown better not make himself too comfy in that transport chair...they may actually be better off fitting an ejector seat in the transport ministers office.

    The next bout of bad weather will simply give us more of the same chaos and confusion as the anti-car choke-points and clumping systems combine with snowflakes to make us a laughing stock, and make Scotland the sort of place businesses will want to avoid.

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  • 43. At 11:12pm on 14 Dec 2010, tenswen_dnaltocs wrote:

    As a former juggernaut and coach driver, I find some comments about trucks and their “jacknifing,” a bit amusing. If I could I would play on You Tube some of the stuff I have seen on Motorways when it comes to car and van drivers. White van man is the worst of the worst.

    Judging from traffic reports of jack-knifing, some people may think that truck driver negligence is the source of most of the problems on the road. Spectators often don't realize that jack-knifing was a result -- not a cause -- of a nasty accident. In this way, the danger of jack-knifing (per se) is sometimes exaggerated in the media. Regardless, it's always best to keep a safe distance from trucks on the road.

    Technology has devised anti jack-knifing systems mostly in tandem with the braking systems, a bit like ABS on your cars. In other words if a driver is forced into heavy braking resulting in the braked wheels starting to lose traction the system compensates to alleviate these forces. However there is no force on earth yet devised that will prevent 42 tonnes from going where it is not required once gravity and friction has been overloaded. Anti skid and anti jack-knife kit will prevent a lot of incidents and most trucks have systems that do so.

    However the type of jack-knifing we get in snow and ice is different, and not caused by poor operator in puts, but by loss of traction on one side of a driven axle. Many trucks now have differential locks that curtail this but will not stop it totally. The good driver will lift of and re apply power gradually to try and regain traction, however even a slight camber on the road surface is enough to send even a well driven combination into a side ways movement that cannot be stopped, and will often result in the trailer pushing the tractor unit into an unwanted jacknife and so we get into the locked up cab crusher that blocks carriageways and causes tailbacks.

    An empty trailer makes this even more likely due to poor weight distribution and loss of traction. A fully loaded trailer can sometimes be helped by lifting the tag axle if it is a multi axle combination tractor, thus putting more weight on the driven axle but technically this is illegal, and can render the driver liable to prosecution for axle overloading.

    What is the worst and the most prevalent cause of trucks losing momentum, is the selfish and downright ignorant manners displayed by drivers of cars and vans to these vehicles. It is a form of inverted snobbery with BMW and Mercedes drivers being the worst offenders, bringing up a very close second is the Mummy run, with MPVs on their way to school, doctor, dentist, child carers etc. I have had one of these on the M9 at the Craigforth turn of, in falling snow, overtake me, and then when level with the turn of and my cab decided “I want to go left” and she did, luckily I had anticipated that she was about to do something stupid, (call it sixth sense) and had lifted of the power which saved us all, she then bounced up the grass and slip road giving me the finger, with two toddlers in the back. I had a full load, total weight 42 tonnes, imagine the carnage had I not sensed her madness.

    The sight of a truck in front of some people seems to drive them into a raging frenzy that will not abate until they get passed it. This goes on day and night all up and down the land, which is one reason I gave up the driving game as it was just getting to dangerous. A regular trick especially on the A9 for some bizarre reason is to overtake usually in the face of oncoming traffic and then brake hard in front of a truck to cause annoyance. What it is that causes this to happen would take a good psychiatrist to work out. Nevertheless, it is stupid ignorant and dangerous. What most car drivers do not know is that on the A9 trucks are legally required to do 40 miles per hour until they reach the duelled sections when they can do 50. Good truckers who are regulars on the road will pull over into lay-bys to let traffic get on, as it is not worth the hassle creating a long queue behind you. In my opinion, there should be one speed for all on the A9 and that should be 50 through out for all. And it should be enforced with SPECS.

    On the M8 and other M ways cars jink in and out of truck lines without taking in to account that a truck needs to maintain momentum especially in snow to allow it to make the next climb. Anything that inhibits that and cause the driver to lift of the power is going to lead to traction problems so drivers of light vehicle need to show a bit of patience and understanding. If you slow a truck down in these conditions, you are a nutcase. Keep clear and be patient.

    Yes there are good and bad truckers, as there are in all categories of life. However statistically truck drivers are the safest and most skilled on the road, and know how to drive in all weathers.

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  • 44. At 11:18pm on 14 Dec 2010, G P Walrus wrote:

    What will BBC Scotland find to talk about if there's no snow on Thursday Brian?

    ... Day 873 of the Sheridan trial ...

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  • 45. At 11:20pm on 14 Dec 2010, ady wrote:

    BTW
    The roads guy at Edinburgh Council that I know hardly ever goes into work on a Friday, he prefers to avoid the Friday afternoon chaos Edinburgh's traffic system creates in GOOD weather.
    Snow is forecast for Scotland this Thursday/Friday...so don't say you weren't warned.

    Do what the cooncil guys do. Stay in bed and count your pension.

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  • 46. At 11:23pm on 14 Dec 2010, mike boothroyd wrote:

    @43

    I think that's the most informative post I've ever read.

    It will certainly lead to an improvement in my driving manners in the future.

    Thanks

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  • 47. At 11:36pm on 14 Dec 2010, tenswen_dnaltocs wrote:

    42. At 11:05pm on 14 Dec 2010, ady wrote:

    Scotland...stuck in the slow lane.

    ********************************************************************


    ARE YOU JEREMY PURVIS????


    This morning I sent him an e-mail to which he has not replied you would do well to study it. I agree with you about the infrastucture in Scotland. You will notice that since 2007 when the SNP took over several large road projects are underway with several more completed not the least of tehm being the improvements to the A9. howeve the SNP are going to need much more fiscal power to build the scotland that has been denied t us by years of unionist hegemoney and lack of funding and ambition for our land, despite the riches in our seas which went towards the infrastructure project that have enriched "The City" since the 70s. We do live in abackward nation compared to the likes of Norway, but thanks be to God we are now starting to move forwards.


    ************************************************************************




    I have read this in the papers this morning. If it is true, you really have some explaining to do Mr Purvis. As the extract from Asdas web site shows.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Lib Dem finance spokes-man Jeremy Purvis blamed the SNP government and said it was an “absolute embarrassment” that some retailers had suspended orders.
    He said: “Keith Brown doesn’t have the luxury of a honeymoon period. With yet more wintry weather on the way, the new transport minister has to regain not only the trust of the travelling public, but that of retailers who depend on their delivery routes being kept clear.
    “Any repeat of the traffic chaos in the last couple of weeks could not only ruin Christmas for families the length and breadth of Scotland, but jeopardise economic recovery for the country.”
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    FROM THE ASDA SITE.

    ”Affected Areas

    2 Man (Furniture and large items) Home deliveries – Scotland, All of North East England and Kent.

    In Store Collection - All of Scotland, All of North East England and parts of Yorkshire.

    Affected stores in Yorkshire are: Carcroft, Cortonwood Living, Doncaster, East Retford, Essentials Pontefract, Grimsby, Hessle, Hull, Kingswood, Mount Pleasant, Scunthorpe, and York.”
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Like Iain Gray you have shown your colours on this as an opportunist. Would you really have us believe that if you were in charge it would be any different?


    Are you able to control weather?



    All over Europe the snow has disrupted transport. Even the German rail operators had people stuck overnight in trains. Airports closed, up to 20 people we know of have died in Poland where temperatures have plunged to –36. For opposition politicians to force a decent man to resign and then go on to make cheap political capital out of what is a national and international crisis is distasteful in the extreme. Or like the hapless Iain Gray is your only interest in “hamstringing” the SNP as he boasted at his pathetic conference in Oban. In other words Mr Purvis, put up or shut up. You and the unionist cabal are the “absolute embarrassment,” you embarrass Scotland.



    It is all blowing back rather badly on you as the latest poll shows, with support for the SNP, Alex Salmond, and independence, surging once more. Maybe that is the motivation for your disgraceful remarks.
    Why not let us hear what you would have Keith Brown do next?
    What are your proposals for stopping nature doing what she wants? At a time like this, I am looking for politicians to show their hand and leave the partisan guff to one side.


    Come forward with some policy or keep going backwards as you are.

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  • 48. At 11:37pm on 14 Dec 2010, Rational Viewpoint wrote:

    Herald & Government - "Its terrible that retailers are deliberately disadvantaging the Scottish population by refusing to take internet orders, and we are working with them to seek explanations for this"

    John Swinney - "In the six point plan, we need to look at the necessity of journeys and maybe hauliers could take heed of that and perhaps not use their time and fuel and park up their lorries if the conditions are bad"..."we could look at parking up lorries on the hard shoulder to keep motorways moving"

    ...am i missing the obvious...

    1) retailers have stopped taking orders as they know they cannot fulfil them because of the weather and backlogs (unlike politicians who are all too keen to promise something that they are fully aware they cannot deliver..), and
    2) aren't retailer deliveries dependent on keeping lorries moving?? Parking them up can only lead to shelves emptying faster, production facilities stopping and the aforementioned internet ordered seasonal deliveries not getting delivered!!

    All freight moves out of necessity... I'll bet there were plenty of cars moving that could well have been left at home.

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  • 49. At 11:59pm on 14 Dec 2010, ady wrote:

    It's not just the Nats who hate cars, there's an anti-car epidemic in Scotland because it's an opportunity to create jobs for the boys.

    Incredible amounts of taxpayer cash have been squandered on bumps, islands, traffic lights, chicanes and various goofy road hazards.
    Traffic lights have appeared in places where there has never ever even been a traffic jam, like at Longstone in Edinburgh...why??? because it creates jobs fur tha boyz.

    Meanwhile, the downtrodden motorist bumps and crashes his way through potholed uneven ill maintained roads as he makes his way to a job which helps to pay his monthly tithe to the cooncil, thereby providing the cashflow for this anti-car policy.

    And speaking of council cashflow.
    If the government can cut it's cash to the cooncils by 25% is there any chance of us long suffering serfs getting a 25% cut in cooncil tax to maintain parity with the government?

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  • 50. At 00:01am on 15 Dec 2010, ady wrote:

    ...and I know not who Jeremy Purvis is...I do know of a Jeremy Clarkson though...

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  • 51. At 06:56am on 15 Dec 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    Worst storm this century traps 300 motorists in Ontario as Canadian town of Sarnia turns in to Narnia

    Wonder if the canadian transport chappie was hounded into resigning?

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  • 52. At 07:19am on 15 Dec 2010, Diabloandco wrote:

    The myth of ruthlessly efficient Germany always battling the elements so much better than Britain has been smashed by a new cold weather front.

    Not a single train ran without delays in the whole of the country.
    In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the west there were some 700 accidents on the autobahns during 12 hours of snowfall. And even international airports like Dusseldorf had to shut down on Monday night as the snow blew in.


    My goodness me !
    Anyone calling for the transport ministers head there??

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  • 53. At 07:40am on 15 Dec 2010, redrobb wrote:

    Mr Gordon was marooned! Aye richt, I'm quite sure he was not hunkering doon on an office table, or praying that his petrol did not run-out! As for a change of clothes, well I've seen this gent in albeit in the far & distant past, fashion was never his strong point so I'm guessing no one noticed, for sure the fashion paparazzi were not interested, even if he was sporting a Gucci label etc! What's more of an interest is the number of times I've heard his name being mentioned by you! Perhaps he's the only one making contributions in the chamber while you are there, or are you having little cosy chats? And I'm quite sure the Ex-Marine is sitting at the control tower ready to command whatever, PS Did this guy not take the queens shilling and oath, so I'm guessing he's a pseudo republican.....I'm also guessing the job of an MSP is more do with subsidising his army pension.........

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  • 54. At 07:54am on 15 Dec 2010, bmc875 wrote:

    53. redrobb
    "I'm also guessing the job of an MSP is more do with subsidising his army pension......... "

    What? He was in the Army as well as the Royal Navy Marines! This boy gets around!

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  • 55. At 08:49am on 15 Dec 2010, Shoogly Peg wrote:

    Good wee report Brian. You're defo getting the hang of reporting the truth ;-)

    Now, I'd like to highlight the difference between Policies and Legislation.

    Policy isn't legislation. It's a wish list outlined by Ministers then disseminated to the civil service to broaden and strengthen and put it into context.

    From there, the civil service can oversee various mechanisms in order to fulfill the policy but they cannot force or enact laws and by-laws.

    The legislation used to keep our country moving lies with the local authorities.

    Perhaps one should remember that when the next local authority by-election appears or when next one wishes to point the finger.

    To re-cap - central government = policy making
    - local government = legislative enforcement

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  • 56. At 09:16am on 15 Dec 2010, Ron McArthur wrote:

    Well it seems that Christmas has come early, Wee eck has been more that generous to the Opposition Parties. After Mr Stevenson's departure to the back benches, Wee eck searched for a man with conviction to take over as Transport Minister. Keith Brown was his choice, very appropriate as Mr Brown was convicted for none payment of the Skye bridge toll. Shows real insight in how to win popular support. An inspired choice. I cannot wait for the New Year to see Wee eck " Roll out the Barrel" must be some dregs left in it yet.

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  • 57. At 09:37am on 15 Dec 2010, minuend wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 58. At 09:41am on 15 Dec 2010, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

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  • 59. At 09:45am on 15 Dec 2010, bencruachan wrote:

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  • 60. At 09:49am on 15 Dec 2010, ady wrote:

    ==To re-cap - central government = policy making
    - local government = legislative enforcement==

    Local Government is a law unto itself, a runaway train interpreting policy as and how it wishes.

    The car-hater policy is one example, Scotland being one of the worst places in Europe for car jams.

    Council pensions are another excellent example of a system which is completely broken, councils are currently trying to indebt this country with liabilities which are rapidly gaining upon the banking sector bailout.
    Local government pension deficit 'totals £100bn'
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11996504

    If the government thinks I'm going to work to 70 to pay for a bunch of 3 day a week local government fatcats then they're dreaming.

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  • 61. At 10:05am on 15 Dec 2010, spagan wrote:

    56 Ronnie
    A politician with a conviction?
    The new Minister has principles.
    You perhaps don't remember what principles are?
    Before the 1960s, I believe that Labour had quite a few.
    Sadly, New Labour became the party for opportunists - political spivs and speculators - "For Hire" whatever the cost to the country at large.
    Only yesterday, a man I knew (or was fooled by???) at University - a staunch communist and trades unionist of his day - gave an interview on the Politics Show where he praised Thatcher and Blair and despised Brown and MilliBrother Jnr.
    Convictions???
    History is colourfully illustrated with profiles of many who broke unjust laws.
    Slainte Mhor

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  • 62. At 10:08am on 15 Dec 2010, X_Sticks wrote:

    I hear the new Transport Minister Keith Brown is going to base himself in Transport Scotland's control centre tonight in anticipation of the bad weather to come overnight. At least there will be somebody with a brain in control for the next round of chaos.
    With so many other things happenning in Scottish politics (somehow those two words together make me laugh) you'd think the BBC politics editor could find something more substantial than the weather to report on.
    The pogrom against Stewart Stevenson has to be one of the lowest points of the Scottish media and opposition parties. Utterly disgraceful from the lot of them, and the BBC should get a particular mention for how well they covered their own backside.

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  • 63. At 10:20am on 15 Dec 2010, ady wrote:

    As far as the BBC being "biased" is concerned...there appears to be a bias towards the emergency services actually being -:in the picture:-

    In Pictures: Scotland's week of snow chaos
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11977382

    The reality was that the system broke down completely.
    If Stewpots pals want to blame someone they only have their fellow MSP politicians to blame, from all parties.

    All the Scottish parties have presided over a decaying road infrastructure which is unfit for purpose.

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  • 64. At 10:46am on 15 Dec 2010, ady wrote:

    Scotland has only 5 million people out of 60 million, less than 10%.
    We somehow manage to occupy 30% of the top ten places in the UK for carjamming though.

    UK is Europe's most traffic-clogged nation, says car jam report
    According to the report, the Top 10 Most Congested Cities in the UK span all regions:
    1. London: Drivers waste 54 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Friday from 17:00-18:00
    2. Manchester: Drivers waste 72 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Friday from 17:00-18:00
    3. Belfast: Drivers waste 62 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday from 8:00-9:00 AM
    4. Newcastle upon Tyne: Drivers waste 62 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Wednesday 8:00-9:00 AM
    5. Glasglow: Drivers waste 48 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Tuesday 8:00-9:00 AM
    6. Birmingham: Drivers waste 53 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
    7. Leeds-Bradford: Drivers waste 40 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
    8. Aberdeen: Drivers waste 56 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Tuesday 8:00-9:00 AM
    9. Liverpool: Drivers waste 58 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
    10. Edinburgh: Drivers waste 49 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Wednesday 8:00-9:00 AM

    In analyzing and ranking the worst traffic bottlenecks across the country, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow dominate the rankings in commuting nightmares.

    http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/analysis/general-analysis/121603-uk-is-ranked-europes-most-traffic-clogged-nation.html

    Our two lane M8 donkeytrack plays a major role in these statistics.
    Like the rest of our MSPs, Stewart Stevenson probably never had a clue what was going on anyway.
    He'll be well recompensed for his lack of ability though, like the rest of the crew at Holyrood.

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  • 65. At 10:46am on 15 Dec 2010, Choosedayschild wrote:

    56 Talking about politicians with convictions, how about this lot?

    Labour MPs Jim Devine, David Chaytor and Elliot Morley are standing trial accused of theft by false accounting.

    Steven Purcell, Labour leader of Glasgow City Council resigned because of indiscretions involving drugs and patronage.

    Former Labour government ministers Stephen Byers, Geoff Hoon and Richard Caborn barred from Parliament because of lobbying scandals.

    Phil Woolas has been thrown out of Parliament and the Labour Party after breaking electoral law by lying about his Lib-Dem general election opponent. He is barred from standing for public office for 3 years and could face criminal charges.

    Ron Culley, chief exec of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), David McLachlan (Vice-chairman of SPT) and Alistair Watson resign. The trio are accused of misuse of public funds, including trips to India, Florida and Manchester.

    Electoral Commission criticise Labour over postal voting irregularities in Glasgow NE by-election in November 2009.

    Wendy Alexander resigned as leader of Labour in Scotland over illegal donations. Official documents were altered to hide the true donator.

    Labour’s plan to give 18-year-olds free newspapers for a year, is effectively a bribe to newspaper owners.

    Labour MP Denis McShane and Labour ex-MPs Margaret Moran face expenses charges.

    Former Labour MSP Gordon Jackson escapes prosecution for an alleged motoring offence after appeal judges ruled it had been time barred.

    Inverness Labour councilor, John Holden, is charged with fraud by illegally claiming almost £45,000 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

    Financial irregularities at the Castro Club, a gay drop-in centre run by Glasgow Labour Councillor Ruth Black, is closed leaving £40,000 debt. A previous club run by Ruth Black was closed leaving £300,000 debt.

    Glasgow Labour Councillor Gilbert Davidson is arrested for alleged sexual harassment of a female colleague.

    East Kilbride Labour councillor Jim Docherty accused of corruption by failing to declare a relationship with a property developer, of influencing planning applications on his friend’s behalf and of behaving in an aggressive and bullying manner at council meetings.

    East Lothian council has been breaking the law for years by using taxpayer’s money to subsidise Labour fund raising events. Some of the money raised found its way into Iain Gray’s campaign funds.

    These are just the ones that come readily to mind. There are probably others.

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  • 66. At 10:47am on 15 Dec 2010, soosider wrote:

    #63
    Thanks for the link to the pictures, how many of them showed snow of 5cm or less?
    You said the system broke down completely now why would that have been? could it have been that every agency was caught by surprise by the severity of the snow fall? could they all have been relying on the same wildly inaccurate forecast? Even the BBC got it completely wrong with their forecasts, could they have been relying on the same source as all the road agencies?
    On a truly sickening note I caught a bit of the Johnnie Beattie radio show the other day, and I kid you not they were sitting congratulating themselves as to how well the BBC had done, how the people in crisis turn to the BBC for reliable and up to date information.

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  • 67. At 10:57am on 15 Dec 2010, were doomed wrote:

    At what point in all the debates about Scotland grinding to halt will someone poit out that the motorway network and many of the dual carraigeways were and are maintained by the private sector, in the BBCs many diatribes against the public sector never has the BBC pointed to the miss management by the two main private sector companies that failed and failed miserably to keep Scotlands main routes even passable never mind open! Indeed the M80 was very much closed even well after the fall of snow the road at best was like a rutted field for days, it was to the public sector mainatained roadway the A803 that much of the traffic used which was never in the mess of the privately maintained motorway, but there is no profit in well maintained roads for these companies.


    When will we hear from our great and good MSPs on how these companies performed, will any of the directors of these companies resign?

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  • 68. At 11:02am on 15 Dec 2010, bencruachan wrote:

    While you were stuck in Edinburgh, did you not attend conference at well known newspaper offices where prominent Scottish business men discussed such boring subjects as Full Fiscal Autonomy and other interesting matters?

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  • 69. At 11:06am on 15 Dec 2010, X_Sticks wrote:

    63. At 10:20am on 15 Dec 2010, ady wrote:
    "As far as the BBC being "biased" is concerned...there appears to be a bias towards the emergency services actually being -:in the picture:-"
    Ah, yes, but EVERYBODY was on the ball, EXCEPT the Transport Minster, at least that's how it reads in the MSM and is reported on the BBC.

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  • 70. At 11:06am on 15 Dec 2010, kadok wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 71. At 11:27am on 15 Dec 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    42. ady
    "All the weather did was highlight the anti-car bias in Scotland..."

    Spoken like the kind of spoilt, selfish car-bound brat who gives all motorists such a bad name. The truth is that, in Scotland as in so many countries, massive resources are devoted to pandering to the comfort and convenience of drivers while pedestrians are left to struggle with barely maintained footpaths cluttered with signposts and other paraphernalia for the benefit of people in cars.

    When you are finished screaming and stamping your little feet about how unfair it is that you can't take your little tin box wherever you like, whenever you like, and at whatever speed you like try to think of this - far less than half of us have access to private transport at any time while ALL of us are pedestrians at least some of the time.

    When the roads are allowed to deteriorate to the condition of the pedestrian pavements then you will have something to complain about. Until then you would be well advised to enjoy the over-generous privileges society bestows on you and avoid drawing attention to yourself by such petulant whining.

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  • 72. At 11:29am on 15 Dec 2010, tenswen_dnaltocs wrote:

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  • 73. At 11:38am on 15 Dec 2010, Gary Hay wrote:

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  • 74. At 11:38am on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    'Financial wilderness' ahead if business left out of debate

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  • 75. At 11:42am on 15 Dec 2010, Gary Hay wrote:

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  • 76. At 11:44am on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 77. At 11:47am on 15 Dec 2010, were doomed wrote:

    If the nations road network is to be run by Mr. Brown then why do we have so many managers earning big salaries in both the public and private sector complete with don't knock me down jackets, have they been paid off, do we need to pay these managers wages when they failed so obviously the other week? are the roads to be kept open by Mr. Brown and some brave snow plough drivers only? Oh and not forgetting the forecasters.
    This is fast becomming a farce you could not make up, will Mr. Brown be dressed as superman, batman, spiderman, maybe the invisible man! Please though what of all these managers, ah, maybe they have been given the night off!

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  • 78. At 11:53am on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 11:57am on 15 Dec 2010, X_Sticks wrote:

    74. At 11:38am on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:
    'Financial wilderness' ahead if business left out of debate
    "Former deputy First Minister Lord Wallace, now the UK Advocate General, who is guiding the Scotland Bill through the Lords, warned against SNP calls for full fiscal autonomy.
    "Fiscal autonomy loses what the Scotland Bill preserves - the ability to spread economic and financial risk across the wide and diversified UK economy," he said"
    In other words, Wesminster doesn't want to lose the borrowing powers it has from Scotlands oil. Without it they'd be stuffed.
    Another union benefit (or stitch-up if you live in Scotland) I've no doubt.

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  • 80. At 12:18pm on 15 Dec 2010, Electric Hermit wrote:

    79. X_Sticks
    ""Fiscal autonomy loses what the Scotland Bill preserves - the ability to spread economic and financial risk across the wide and diversified UK economy," he said"

    Fiscal autonomy gains what the Scotland Bill denies - the Scottish government's ability to spread economic and financial risk across the wide and diversified Scottish economy.

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  • 81. At 12:40pm on 15 Dec 2010, Gary Hay wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 82. At 12:50pm on 15 Dec 2010, heraldnomore wrote:

    Once again Joan McAlpine hits the nail on the head. Her latest column and blog should be compulsory reading for all BBC reporters and presenters. Your views on it Brian?

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  • 83. At 12:55pm on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

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  • 84. At 12:58pm on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    81. Gary Hay

    Vinny Eastwood Show 15/10/10 1/3

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  • 85. At 1:00pm on 15 Dec 2010, bencruachan wrote:

    Does anyone have any recollection of BBC Scotland reporting this conference which discussed fiscal automony.
    Anyway Al gin ray has done the business on #74 for the few.

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  • 86. At 1:15pm on 15 Dec 2010, Dougie MacDuibh wrote:

    If the mob who pass for the Opposition at Holyrood think they've scored some kind of moral victory in taking a Scottish Government scalp - something they've been baying and agitating for since May 2007 - they can think again.

    That said, forcing the resignation of a dedicated and committed minister, in the face of the worst weather events this country has seen in half a century - and before factual evidence was even examined - probably represents Iain Gray's finest moment as a politician, and speaks volumes for the measure of the man in his cynical ambition to be this country's first minister.

    Stewart Stevenson is worth any number of Gray's ilk, and the behaviour of the London-led pack animals in forcing his resignation has far more to do with the "scent of blood" in the approach to a pivotal election, than their flimsy pretence to be acting in Scotland's interests, or to be remotely capable of governing the country in "good times", let alone in the teeth of a crisis.

    What is potentially worse, though, is the way in which the lynch mob was led, not by so-called politicians, but by the BBC, in what fell little short of a broadcasting crusade against the transport minister. BBC Scotland's stance on the issue has been the very opposite of impartial, and as our appointed public service broadcaster, their performance has been wholly unacceptable.

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  • 87. At 1:19pm on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 88. At 1:25pm on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    The BBC's Editorial Values

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  • 89. At 1:32pm on 15 Dec 2010, spagan wrote:

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  • 90. At 1:42pm on 15 Dec 2010, gunnergoz wrote:

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  • 91. At 1:46pm on 15 Dec 2010, Eddie wrote:

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  • 92. At 1:59pm on 15 Dec 2010, ai_gin_ray wrote:

    No-go snow firms should be ashamed

    It is nothing short of bonkers for Jeremy Purvis of the Liberal Democrats and David McLetchie of the Tories to play petty politics with the issue and attack the SNP for not keeping the roads open and thus giving the likes of Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury an excuse for their highly selective behaviour.

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  • 93. At 2:00pm on 15 Dec 2010, Freenonbrit wrote:

    After being up for 17 hours, my post (No 31) has been removed because the moderators think it broke the House Rules.

    All I did was reiterate BBC Scotland's failings in respect of the forecasting of and reaction to last week's Big Crisis, and the absence, by the 14th, of any acknowledgement of culpability. Nothing rude, nothing personal, nothing offensive - just verifiable facts. Seems like I touched a raw nerve.

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