If SNP didn’t like hearing about ferries, they’ll really hate ‘trains, trains, trains’ – Brian Wilson

“Ferries, ferries, ferries,” wailed the ever-charming Peter Wishart MP, deploring attention paid to these wretched vessels when nobody in his constituency gives a toss about them.

Not so much ‘one Scotland’, more a reminder that selfish parochialism is a natural handmaiden of narrow nationalism.

Mr Wishart will be even grumpier about “trains, trains, trains” becoming the new refrain as his constituents are likely to be more interested in the subject. “Get out of Edinburgh by 8pm or you’ll have missed the last one to Perth” is not a great message.

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I listened to the First Minister’s plea to “get back round the table” as if the Scottish Government is a third party, rather than ScotrRail’s puppet-master. As Aslef’s Kevin Lindsay pointed out, they have had no talks with ScotRail since May 4. Can Ms Sturgeon not even sort that out?

Problems with Scotland's train services have now been added to its ferry woes (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Her reference to train drivers earning £50,000 was ill-judged. They have decent earnings because their union has represented them effectively over decades so ministers should have known how a 2.2 per cent offer in an age of double-digit inflation would be greeted. For perspective, a bog-standard MSP is paid £66,662 a year after a 3.4 per cent rise in April.

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Meanwhile, on the ferries front – sorry, Mr Wishart – things have gone from bad to much worse, particularly for Uist. As noted here last week, the urgency of allowing CalMac to charter, to bail out the ailing fleet, is inescapable and should have happened long ago.

Otherwise, I fear poor Peter faces a summer of hearing about “ferries, ferries, ferries”.


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