Monday, 11 April 2016

Shhhhh!

At the end of last week it was announced that 7,000 pupils in Edinburgh would not be returning to school today, as serious structural defects have been found at Oxgangs Primary School, where a wall collapsed back in January.  As the school was built under a PFI deal, all other schools built under similar arrangements have now been closed until safety checks can be carried out.

The reporting of this has been most amusing, if only for seeing the contortions that the newspapers have gone through to avoid mentioning who was responsible for letting the PFI contracts for the schools in question. And who was in charge at the time?  Well, Edinburgh Council was Labour-controlled, Holyrood was Labour-controlled and take a guess at who was in charge at Westminster.  Why that would be Labour!

As an example of the reporting, take this example from the Guardian, where the story is headed by a large picture of Nicola Sturgeon.  Labour supporters have been trying to argue in the comments that the story explains that this is not the fault of the SNP, but they are being somewhat disingenuous, as many people will simply skim the headline, see the picture of Ms Sturgeon and jump to an erroneous conclusion.  Event the Guardian seems to have felt some embarrassment, as their second attempt at the story was headed by a picture of the collapsed wall.  Notably, however, neither version of the story mentions the role of Labour in the debacle.

It was inevitable that at some point the papers were going to attempt to blame the SNP.  Step forward the Herald and the Scotsman, who are both running a story headlined 'SNP accused of refusing calls for school building checks'.  This turns out to be an almost verbatim retelling of a Tory press release from Liz Smith (yes, I don't know either).

Have we heard calls for a full public enquiry from Labour's own rentahonk, Jackie Baillie?  The silence is deafening.  Has Willie Rennie fired off yet another missive demanding a full investigation?  Strangely he does not appear to have deployed his pen, or if he has, he's not telling us about it.  How very odd, given their previous history of demanding enquiries at the drop of a hat.

Clearly the strategy seems to be that if they don't mention it, it'll all go away, with the voting public none the wiser.  I think, however, that it will have an unexpected side-effect, and not one they're going to like.  Many of the electorate will see this as an attempt to weasel out of taking responsibility.  And why, the voters will ask themselves, should we elect a party that will do anything to avoid taking responsibility for their actions?

In my local area recently, a phantom #SNPOuter with a sheet of stickers has been decorating the lampposts.  The stickers read

#SNPOut
Scotland Deserves Better 

Yesterday, when out walking my dogs I observed a hoodied youth on a bike stopping at each lamppost.  Curious, I went to see what he was doing.  He was using a black marker pen to obliterate the word 'Out' on each sticker so that it now reads

#SNP
Scotland Deserves Better

 He's right.  Scotland deserves far better than the current Unionist parties.

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