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Saturday, 10 July 2010

Conservative MSP John Lamont drops his support for Borders railway

The Borders railway, or Waverley line as it has become known was closed on Monday 6 January 1969 as part of the Beeching Axe. The last passenger service on the line (and the last train to traverse the entire route) was 1M82 21.56 Edinburgh - St. Pancras sleeper, on Sunday 5 January 1969 hauled by Class 45 D60 "Lytham St Annes".

The picture shows the Borders railway line being dismantled in 1969.

Ever since then, and before, there have been campaigns to reopen the Waverley line.

Recently those campaigns have finally been successful and now become a reality.

The current Campaign for Borders Rail website states:
At an historic debate in June 2006, the Scottish Parliament then approved the Waverley Railway (Scotland) Act, including Borders stations at Stow as well as Galashiels and Tweedbank – a key campaign success for CBR and the people of Stow.
So on 3rd March 2010, another historic event in the return of the Borders railway, the turf-cutting ceremony near Galashiels by Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson triggering the activation of the 2006 Act – a process that could only be halted by further legislative procedure in the Scottish Parliament.

All local politicians have been supportive of the reopening of the Waverley line, that is until yesterday when the Conservative MSP, John Lamont publicly performed a spectacular u-turn.
However just over a month ago when John Lamont MSP wanted to be elected to the Westminster Parliament for Galashiels he was in favour of the Railway and now he has flipped his position.

Surely he must recognise the impact a railway would have on the economical growth for the Borders? 

As Lib Dem Jeremy Purvis MSP said:
"Given the economic fragility of the region, the case is stronger than ever for the region to be connected by rail to the centre of Edinburgh and Glasgow."
John Lamont also plainly doesn’t understand that the project will be paid for by the Scottish Government through annual revenue repayments, not the whole capital cost up front.

Through their taxes Borderers have been subsidising the rail network for a generation in Scotland and for our future economic growth the central Borders needs to be connected to the network.

On the BBC News website, John Lamont says;
A recent survey on the Borders railway had shown people wanted better public transport but there was "frustration" the line would not extend to Hawick or link with the West Coast main line.
"Many people remain unconvinced that the new railway to Galashiels will make much difference to most communities in the Borders particularly since it will not go to Hawick and on to Carlisle," he said.
This recent survey John Lamont quotes from must be the one that he spent thousands of pounds of tax payers money on over a year ago and which John Lamont has never released the results.  Of course people in Hawick are not going to be as happy as those in Galashiels, but one step at a time and also it is about the economical growth for the towns across the Borders.

Jeremy Purvis MSP said:
“Mr Lamont says that because some of his constituents won’t use the line then it’s a waste of money. Doesn’t he get the fact that the Borders benefits when the whole region comes together to support priorities. If he uses his stupid rationale then no more money should be spent on the Reston Station issue as constituents of mine in Tweeddale won’t use it. But I support that and other issues across the parts of the Borders not in my constituency. He is driving a wedge in the region and he should be ashamed for doing so.

“I have this week written to the Transport Minister asking him to bring forward the financial close of the project from next autumn to next spring before the Scottish Parliament elections. They are doing this for the Forth replacement crossing so they should do it for the Waverley Line.”
Anyway back to the most expensive MSP, John Lamont, who for the financial year 2008/09 spent £26,952 on postage and office supplies.

John Lamont MSP had surveyed, wrote, wrote again and did yet more surveys about the Borders railway - but - where are the results Mr Lamont?  Finally you refer to this survey, but you have never released the results from this done in 2008/09 and now drip feeding very carefully worded statements about it show your constituents anything.
It appeared when John Lamont challenged Michael Moore MP for the Westminster seat that he was bored in Holyrood, this dramatic u-turn on the benefits of a railway for the Borders just highlights his boredom and lack of enthusiasm for standing up for the Borderers - perhaps he is not going to stand next year?

However, the campaign for a Borders railway must not be derailed by the lone voice of John Lamont MSP.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is Lamont on the election campaign for the Holyrood seat. Yes he is standing and has been selected to fight the Roxburgh and Berwickshire seat. Are the electorate fooled by this latest headline grabbing ploy. No. This young man has to make his mind up as to where his political career lies. Are we to be subjected to years of Holyrood, Westminster ping pong until the holy grail of the green benches are achieved for this Tory career politician. I think he would be better off with a seat down south as the Tory party are finished here North of the Border and the Roxburgh seat should be re taken by the Lib Dems this time round. Look whose dithering now !!

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