A positive chorus of politicians have been quick to express their absolute delight at the news today that the Ardrossan-Campbeltown summer season ferry service has been retained for permanent duty, despite a range of serious questions about the validity of that decision.
No politician, of course, is ever in a position to do other than celebrate a gift horse for their constituents, however likely it may be to pull into the ditch the very notion of best value for public money.
Speaking for themselves, are:
Michael Russell, SNP MSP for Argyll and Bute
‘I am delighted that Derek Mackay has announced such an excellent Christmas present for the people of Kintyre. This was, when launched in 2013, the first new Scottish ferry route in more than two decades and its success has led to the very welcome decision today, to make it permanent.
‘The enthusiasm of the Campbeltown community and the hard work of local representatives, especially Councillor John Armour [Ed: SNP] and Councillor Anne Horn [Ed: SNP], have made all the difference. I am sure the community will now want to discuss with Transport Scotland the details of future timetables in order that the service maximises the visitor potential for Kintyre’.
Jamie McGrigor, Conservative MSP for Highlands and Islands
‘This is a very positive boost for Kintyre and indeed the whole of Argyll & Bute.
‘I have always argued that improving Argyll & Bute’s connectivity, including through better ferry links, is critical to growing the area’s economy and tackling projected depopulation.
‘A permanent ferry service linking Kintyre and Ayrshire- for which there is clear demand as has been shown in the trial- has the potential to increase economic development.’
Brendan O’Hare, SNP MP for Argyll and Bute
‘I’m absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government have delivered this much needed ferry service to Campbeltown. It really is great news and this new regular scheduled ferry service will be a major economic boost in supporting existing businesses, encouraging new enterprises and in bringing even more visitors to the Mull of Kintyre.
My congratulations must go to the Campbeltown Ferry Group for the way they presented their case to the government and to the whole community for the way they have supported this campaign.’
Donald Kelly, Argyll First Councillor for South Kintyre
‘Everyone in Kintyre has been behind the campaign to secure a permanent ferry link between Campbeltown and the Ayrshire coast and so this is good news for the Kintyre peninsula.
‘We now need to look at how the service can be enhanced with a better timetable which is more suited to the needs of Kintyre and that is publicised more effectively with potential tourists to our area. It is also vital that RET continues to apply to this ferry service.
John Armour, SNP Councillor for South Kintyre
‘This a great and welcome Christmas present for the people of Kintyre.
‘I will work with others in the area to market this service.
I’d like to pay tribute to the Scottish Government for going ahead with this service which would not have gotten off the ground without the work of ex councillor John Semple [Ed: SNP] , for that I thank him and Mike Russell MSP [Ed: SNP] for their support.’
Donald Cameron, Conservative Candidate for Argyll & Bute Holyrood seat
‘This is very welcome news for Campbeltown, Kintyre and indeed the whole of Argyll & Bute, and I congratulate all those in Kintyre who have campaigned so hard and so successfully for this important ferry link to be made a permanent service.
‘Kintyre has so much to offer the tourist and I know that tourism enterprises will be delighted with this announcement and the additional visitors who will now have extra options for travelling to Kintyre.’
Note: For Argyll’s analysis of the situation, published this morning, is rather different – online here.