Monday, 5 April 2010

The REAL Lib Dem Roads Policy

So now we have it ... our local Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander loves to bleat on about how the Scottish Government has done nothing to dual the A9 and how the Scottish Government is delaying the Trunk Link Road around Inverness. This, of course, is the same Scottish Government that has put dualling the A9 firmly on the agenda, and the same Government that has already committed to funding the eastern section of the TLR - all after seven inglorious years of Lib Dem / Labour inaction.

Yet here we are, come general election time, and Lib Dem policy is to cut three thousand five hundred million pounds (£3.5 billion) or 90% from the roads capital budget and use £500 million to fund cheaper rail fares and £3,000 million to reopen or improve railway stations and lines, and build new ones.

This, of course, is all very well in the congested urban centres of Englandshire, where the balance between private and public transport is surely out of kilter, and getting worse. But here in the Highlands, I challenge Danny Alexander to come clean about Lib Dem plans for road building in his own 'patch' and to tell us exactly which stations and lines he would reopen, improve, or create from scratch. Would he seriously expect us to believe, for example, that electrification of the Highland Main Line would come anywhere other than close to the bottom of a Lib Dem wish list? Or would he, perhaps, re-open the Dava line? I don't think so! And what price Lib Dem promises about the A9 or the TLR now?

The bottom line is that it is the furthest reaches of the United Kingdom, with the most thinly spread of populations - West Wales and the Highlands of Scotland - that will never attain sustainable mass public transport systems, and will inevitably suffer most at the hands of this policy.

What we urgently need here in the Highlands are local champions who will stand up for local issues from a policy base of integrity, not politicians that try to face both ways at once. Only the SNP will stand up for the Highlands in Westminster. We need to elect John Finnie to replace Duplicitous Danny, Alasdair Stephen to displace the spent force that is Charles Kennedy and Jean Urquhart to usurp Viscount Thurso.

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