Tha butarrais nan aiseagan nas miosa fiù ‘s na blabhdach Boris, le Murray MacLeòid

Smaoinich air seo an-dràsta: can gu bheil sgrùdadh oifigeil ga dhèanamh ann am pròiseact rèile HS2 agus draghan ann mu mar a tha na cosgaisean air sìor èirigh, g’ eil e bliadhnachan air dheireadh agus g’ eil e air droch bhuaidh a thoirt air seirbhisean siubhail ri linn.

Tha ceistean gu math cruaidh air nochdadh mu thimcheall mar a làimhsich Nicola Sturgeon an cùmhnant dha gàrradh Fheargais.  (Dealbh: Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Tha ceistean gu math cruaidh air nochdadh mu thimcheall mar a làimhsich Nicola Sturgeon an cùmhnant dha gàrradh Fheargais. (Dealbh: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

[English-language version below]

Tha an rannsachadh le neach-sgrùdaidh an uair sin a’ dearbhadh gun deach an Riaghaltas an aghaidh comhairle oifigeil nach bu chòir dhaibh leanntainn air adhart leis an obair.

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Agus an rud as miosa dheth buileach: chan eil sgeul air an obair phàipeir a tha a’ mìneachadh carson nach do dh’èist an riaghaltas ris a’ chomhairle sin.

Abair gun deigheadh èigheach is gearan is onghail a dheànamh, agus chan eil fhios fiù ‘s nach deigheadh iarraidh air na poilis an rud a rannsachadh.

Tha e duilich fhaicinn ann an suidheachadh dhen t-seòrsa sin ciamar a gheibheadh aig riaghaltas air cumail a’ dol gun chuideigin an dreuchd a chall.

Ach ann an Alba, leis an dearbh shuidheachadh sin a’ cuairteachadh gàrradh Fhearghais agus nan aiseagan ùra, thathas ag iarraidh oirnn gabhail ris mar gur e ann ach rud beag a chaidh ceàrr agus gum bi a h-uile càil ceart gu leòr ma dh’ionnsaicheas sinn an leasan.

Tha Riaghaltas na h-Alba ag ràdh gu bheil gach nì mun chùmhnant ri fhaighinn gu poblach, ach ciamar a ghabhas sin a bhith, nuair a tha fianais cho cudromach air a dhol a dhìth, no nach robh idir ann?

Càite an deach e, no cò fo ghrein a bha smaoineachadh nach biodh feum sam bith air a leitheid?

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Tha Murray MacLeòid ag ràdh gu bheil margaidh an fhearainn a-mach à rian

Bha neach-sgrùdaidh na h-Alba Steafan Boyle gu math cruaidh air an Riaghaltas mun seo, ag ràdh nach deàn facail fhaoin mar “ionnsachadh leasanan” a’ chùis an seo idir.

Ag iarraidh rannsachadh nas mionaidiche, thuirt e: “‘S e an tuigse a tha againn nach robh an fhianais seo ri faighinn a chuireas taic ris a’ cho-dhùnadh (gun feairt a thoirt air a’ chomhairle), agus airson rud a bha cho cudromach. Thug sin sinn chun a’ cho-dhùnaidh gum bu chòir dha obair phàipeir air a bhith ann airson rud anns an robh an uimhir a’ chunnart.”

Nam biodh an dà aiseag air a bhith deiseil ann an ùine agus gu ìre reusanta, cha bhiodh sinn air mòran a chluinntinn ‘s dòcha, ach chan e sin a th’ againne.

Tha cosgais gun chiall air a thighinn air an sporran phoblach – trì uimhir ri luach a’ chùmhnant sa chiad àite – tha na h-aiseagan còig bliadhna air dheireadh agus tha iomadach coimhearsnachd a’ fulang ri linn droch sheirbheis aiseag.

Nuair a chaidh Nicola Sturgeon a chàineadh an dèidh mar a chaidh a faicinn gum mhasg ann am bùth-bhorbair, bha i ceart a ràdh nach robh e chun na h-aon ìre ri pàrtaidhean Boris is a charaidean.

Ach, chan eil fiù’s blabhdach Boris cho dona ri butarrais nan aiseagan ùra agus nam b’ esan a bu choireach ri leithid, cha bhiodh e – no as bith cò eile air a bhiodh an t-uallach – ann ro fhada.

Tha e cuideachd ag innse sgeulachd gu bheil an Riaghaltas a’ cumail a-mach nach e rud mòr sam bith a tha seo agus nach leig a leas duine sam bith a bhith cunntasail air a shon aig a’ cheann thall.

Tha a’ mhì-chinnt mu neo-eisimileach air buaidh a thoirt air poileataigs na h-Alba aig gach ìre, ach cha bu chòir dha idir ciallachadh gum faigh iadsan a tha an urra ri co-dhùnaidhean às le rudan leis nach fhaigheadh iad às nam biodh cùisean diofraichte. Tha cosgais an cois sin nach gabh smaoineachadh air.

Picture the scene: a major audit is undertaken into the HS2 rail development amid concerns over soaring costs, years of delay and, as a result, major knock-on impacts to the rest of the transport infrastructure and service to the community.

That investigation, by a senior auditor, finds that UK Government ministers were warned against proceeding with the work but just ignored it.

And, here’s the peach: a key piece of paperwork on the justification for dismissing that advice goes mysteriously missing. It’s nowhere to be seen, the political version of the “dog ate my homework”.

Cue uproar and righteous indignation, and possibly even calls for a police investigation. It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination, either, to think who would be at the forefront of such opprobrium.

Under such a scenario, it would be simply unthinkable that a government or UK Prime Minister would escape intact.

Yet in Scotland, with these very same circumstances unfolding over the Ferguson shipyard debacle, it’s exactly what we’re being asked to accept as just “one of those things”, just a mere disappointment along the road that we will “have to learn lessons from”.

The Scottish Government insists that everything is already in the public domain over the contract farce. Yet how can that possibly be, when such a key piece of evidence is missing? Where has it gone, or who on earth thought it prudent not to keep such records?

The Auditor General of Scotland, Stephen Boyle, dismissed the attempts of ministers to play it down, warning that “glib phrases” (his words) about “lessons learned” will not suffice.

In calling for fuller review, he said: “Our understanding is that there is no documentary evidence to support that decision (to ignore advice), which was of such significance. That led us, clearly, to the conclusion that there really ought to have been a level of documentation given the unusual scale of the risks.”

Had the two ferries at Ferguson shipyard been completely to a reasonable standard and to a reasonable timescale, the big political gamble to cast aside the warnings of civil servants may just have paid dividends.

But instead we’re left with huge costs to the public purse – three times the initial £97 million contract tender – with the two ferries five years behind schedule and with communities all down the west coast ravaged by a lack of a proper transport connection.

When Nicola Sturgeon was criticised for failing to wear a mask in a barber’s shop while out campaigning, she was right to say it was not on the same scale as Partygate, where there was a clear culture of rule-breaking.

But not even bungling Boris at his worst has presided over farcical incompetence on such a scale like the Ferguson contract.

To then simply pretend that it’s no big thing with no more need for accountability smacks of a superiority complex, but also hugely revealing.

The independence impasse has affected Scotland’s body politic at every level, but it shouldn’t mean that those responsible for decisions are held to a lesser account as a result. That is a cost that will prove far too corrosive.

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