The SNP will do anything to take a knock at the UK Government. It’s all part of their plan to persuade the people that anything that involves Westminster is the Spawn of Satan.
First Minister’s Questions is, these days, not so much an opportunity to scrutinise the Government, but more a place for craven SNP backbenchers to do homage to their Mighty Leader.
And so it was when Bill Walker, who was pretty surprised to be elected MSP for Dunfermline in May, rose to his feet to ask about Carbon Capture. You could tell his question had been written by the Whips because he clearly didn’t understand it himself, tripping over any word longer than 3 syllables. Not for the first time, I wanted Jim Tolson back there.
The First Minister wasted no time in slating the Westminster Government and the Liberal Democrats in particular for withdrawing the funding for carbon capture. Err, no, they haven’t. The money is still there. It was just going to be way too expensive to develop at Longannet. It’s difficult to make it work in a coal plant and the idea that you can somehow make coal cleaner is not an easy one to make a reality.
The idea is, however, much more likely to succeed at a gas plant and the money available for CCS is likely to stay in Scotland, at Peterhead. And, even better, 75% of the work done at Longannet can be transferred.
But of course the First Minister didn’t mention any of this. Yet again, the facts get in the way of his union bashing agenda.