Nicola Sturgeon: How many millions have First Minister's 'painted-on' photo-ops cost Scotland? – Brian Wilson
It follows-up the Auditor General’s damning report into the contract to build two CalMac ferries at the Ferguson yard in Port Glasgow. This deserves a large tome rather than a few paragraphs, so let me focus on just one extraordinarily revealing aspect – the Case of Sturgeon’s Two Photo Opportunities.
The first was in August 2015 to announce Ferguson’s as preferred bidder. Morag McNeill, interim chair of CMAL – the Scottish Government procurement quango – stated this should not have taken place and they repeatedly warned against it.
Complex negotiations were ongoing and there should have been only “a low-key announcement”. The risks of a high-profile event involving Ms Sturgeon suggested “a fait accompli” and made negotiations “more difficult”. CMAL – the client – was over-ruled and the photo-op went ahead.
Possibly even worse was the stunt of Ms Sturgeon “launching” a vessel with painted-on windows in 2017. In CMAL’s view, the ship was not ready to go in the water, the launch was “premature” and resulted in millions of pounds of additional costs.
In any normal government, this gross political interference in commercial operations with massive financial implications (as confirmed by subsequent events) would in itself be a scandal with resignations demanded. And it is only a tiny part of this overall plot.
I wonder how many more tens of millions Ms Sturgeon’s photo-opportunities have cost Scotland?
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