BA rob Aberdeen link for central belt services
It is not just disappointing that British Airways are axing the Aberdeen to London City route after less than two years in operation but it is being done in an underhand way.
There has been no consultation and no announcement.
It appears that BA have pulled the three flights a day to give extra flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin, increasing their services to 11, 8 and 5 respectively leaving Aberdeen passengers deprived of this useful option altogether.
I alerted the Prime Minister to this last week and he confirmed that this was a vital service for the dynamic economy of the North East and promised to look into it.
Like most politicians from the North of Scotland I have found this a very convenient route offering generally more reliable time keeping and faster journey time than Heathrow. We are seeking an urgent meeting with BA to seek a full explanation as to why the route is being scrapped before it had been fully established and to determine whether they would reconsider or other airlines might take up the route.
Booming rail passengers makes case for investment
I campaigned successfully for the reopening of Dyce station in the 1980s and it now handles three quarters of a million passengers a year. Sadly, the decision came after the Airport Terminal was relocated to the other side of the airport on the grounds that rail links were out of fashion.
The campaign for Kintore station has also been ongoing for years but still seems to be at the end of the priority list for investment.
There are no plans to double track the mainline south of Montrose and invest in high speed links to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Meanwhile, the central belt is getting a new Forth Road Bridge we apparently don’t need – unlike our long delayed Aberdeen Western Peripheral route. Hundreds of millions are being invested in yet another rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow to reduce the journey time by ten minutes. In the North East we remain at the back of the queue with unfulfilled promises for some key investments and no commitment at all for longer term upgrades to bring us up to modern infrastructure requirements.
Middle East growing cause for alarm
The Israel-Palestine peace process appears to be stalled indefinitely in spite of John Kerry’s best efforts to broker an agreement.
The murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank and the apparent revenge killing of a young Palestinian in Jerusalem seems to have triggered an escalating spate of rocket attacks out of Gaza onto Israeli towns and villages with further attacks by Israel, aimed at Hamas targets but killing innocent civilians.
Ultimately, as has been the case in the past, negotiations are ongoing and there will have to be a ceasefire. This will leave the conflict frozen with Israel intensifying the occupation and expanding illegal settlements and Palestinians being restricted in the kinds of economic activities that could help their development.
The British Government is making a major contribution to the refugee crisis on top of its long term support for the Palestinians – to support basic health and education services and help economic activity.
It is an obvious truism that while the whole of the region is currently in need of humanitarian assistance, in the long term only peace will unlock the opportunities the people crave and when given the chance show they can take full advantage of.
Does YES campaign think it can win lottery twice?
The Yes case seems to me to be looking increasingly flimsy and desperate. When Nicola Sturgeon reportedly says “no-one can stop us using the £” it is tantamount to an admission that there will be no currency union.
Whether it is over defence, pensions, conditions of EU membership, the currency status of an independent Scotland, or a hundred and one other things of importance, we are looking at an amateur prospectus with so many uncertainties it makes winning the lottery look like a doddle. Maybe it is because the SNP’s biggest backers HAVE won a lottery that the YES campaign think they are invincible.
Being British does count for something and doesn’t make us any less Scottish. Leaving the UK makes us stop being British altogether.