A week at Westminster with Gordon MP Malcolm Bruce

Warm welcome for Aberdeenshire Alliance

I VERY much welcome the new Aberdeenshire Alliance administration of Liberal Democrats, Independents and Conservatives which I believe will provide continuity and stability.

The SNP’s claim to have a mandate to run Aberdeenshire ignores the fact that they fell well short of the majority they were seeking and that more people voted for the councillors who now form the Aberdeenshire Alliance.

The SNP might have had a chance of leading the administration if they had not been so divided and disorganised in the battle for leadership of their group. If they couldn’t agree on a leader, then the SNP was clearly in no position to lead the council.

These are difficult times for local government as the economic crisis means that funding will become increasingly tight. The outgoing administration has shown itself pragmatic in finding new ways to maintain and deliver services and I have no doubt the new administration will follow that approach.

Time to halt anti-AWPR circus

I AM sure I am with the majority who are frustrated and angry at the continuing delay over the AWPR which is so important to the economic development of Gordon.

It should have been completed years ago and included public transport development such as the Inverurie – Stonehaven commuter rail service. People have a right to object to developments but William Walton, who is leading the legal battle is, in my view, abusing every aspect of the process. Were he to succeed, the North East of Scotland’s development would be compromised for a generation.

Having said that, development of the rail service and dual carriageway to Ellon could have been achieved by now, which makes me suspicious that the Scottish Government are diverting the forward commitment to completing the new Forth Bridge.

Magrahi death will not end Lockerbie agony

The death of Abdelbaset al Magrahi last weekend may end one chapter in the aftermath of the Lockerbie disaster that left such a searing scar on Scottish memories but it will not end the speculation as to the real perpetrators of the atrocity.

Magrahi was convicted, but many believe the evidence was contradictory and circumstantial and that he may have been a scapegoat. It has been suggested that the Iranians may have been behind it.

I, of course, have no idea and we probably will never know. It nevertheless remains unsatisfactory that Magrahi withdrew his appeal two days before he was released on compassionate grounds suggesting at least that he believed if he had continued with the appeal he would die in prison in Scotland.

Labour take City backwards

Having welcomed the new shire administration I wish I could say the same about the new team in Aberdeen City. Labour emerged as the largest party, need the support of the Conservatives and Independents to deliver a majority.

Labour have lost no time in reminding us how bad they have consistently been for Aberdeen when they have had power, with no future vision for the city. The first thing they have done is increase their own salaries which had been cut by the previous administration. Next they are determined to throw Sir Ian Wood’s generous offer on city redevelopment back in his face and show no vision for the city’s future which they damaged so much with previous developments.

If that wasn’t enough, Labour want to scrap the well developed plans for a Third Don Crossing necessary not just for linking the north of the city but also resolving the bottleneck at the Haudagain.

People should remember the previous Labour administration lost control of the city’s finances leading to unsustainable spending which put the city close to bankruptcy.

The Liberal Democrat leadership had to take the tough decisions needed to bring the city back from the brink and, in the process, built new schools, new council houses, an Olympic size swimming pool, refurbished Marischal College (on time and under budget) and won accolades from Audit Scotland.

People have short memories I guess, but if Labour’s first week is an indication of the way they are going, heaven help Aberdeen.

Seconding address on Queen’s speech an unique honour

On the day of the Queen’s Speech I was given the unique honour of seconding the debate on the Government’s programme.

This was almost like making a second maiden speech (29 years after my first) but from the reception I was given in the House and the comments made to me by many members afterwards it went according to plan – and generated mixed remarks from Ed Milliband and more charitable ones from David Cameron. You can judge for yourself on my website www.malcolmbruce.org.uk.