Thursday, July 13, 2006

PMQs – Geoff Cox MP asks about protectionism, Scottish Executive style…..

Yesterday, Geoffrey Cox, Tory MP for Torridge and West Devon stood up in the House and asked Snake-oil Blair a question…..

I must admit, I wasn’t really listening – every week is the same. I turn on the telly, all enthusiastic-like to watch Prime Minister’s Questiontime…… but after the first three questions – and Blair’s evasive waffling, I sort of go a bit glassy eyed. Intellectualism and open mindedness have usually been blown away by ten past twelve, by which time I want to smash Blair’s face in again…..

It took Geoffrey Cox to wake me from my state of pathological hatred.

Mr Cox got his question in fairly late in the allotted half-hour: and it went something like this. He asked the PM about a tender for a Scottish Fisheries Protection boat won by a local firm. Apparently, Appledore’s, a shipyard in his SW constituency had originally won the contract fair & square from the Scottish Executive.

And then, all of a sudden, they lost it. Just like that.

Mr Cox hinted that the contract had been withdrawn for purely political reasons and placed "somewhere else"…. The thing that really got to me was that Cox didn’t actually say where the contract had gone to…..

My ears pricked up. While Blair was waffling some facile verbage-stream bollocks answer to Cox about God knows what, I was already tapping in ‘Appledore Scottish Fisheries Scandal’ into Google…..

I had to find out exactly where the boat contract had gone. I wondered which yard, which country had been awarded it by the Scottish Executive…….

And then I found it. No surprises.

Can you guess?…..

Of course! Scotland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to Scottish Executive Environmental Minister, Ross Finnie, the contract was withdrawn from Appledore the same day as it was awarded – and eventually re-awarded to Ferguson’s shipyard in Port Glasgow who were incidentally one of the original tendering companies who failed first time round.

Even though strict EU rules state that the Scottish Executive should select the cheapest quote. Even though Appledore of SW England were the cheapest. Even though they were awarded the contract – it was still withdrawn after Finnie sort of cried "foul" - and given to a Scottish yard.

Consequently, Appledore are in it right up to their necks. Workers have been laid off – their yard is empty. They are currently suing the Scottish Executive for £10 million.

I reckon this is the tip of a protectionist iceberg.

The Scottish Executive – protectionist, parochial, pathetic.

The sooner we’re shot of them the better.

No comments: