Former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, whose judgment has been repeatedly been shown to be volatile, was single handedly responsible for the over promotion and over attention paid to his wheeze, Joan MacAlpine, list SNP MSP for South Scotland whose reign was abruptly terminated when Nicola Sturgeon took over as First Minister.
During indyref 1, Ms McAlpine had been shown by her own indulgent tweets, to be directing SNP ground troops’ activities in skewing polls in favour of the Yes camp.
She later repaid funds she had claimed as expenses but which she had deployed indirectly to the financial benefit of her former lover who had lost his SNP job when he was exposed as the author of the Universality of Cheese blog which had intentionally smeared a south Scotland conservative councillor.
Something of a ‘dum dum bullet’ in her voracious erraticism, McAlpine and notions of self discipline and good judgment are not compatible bedfellows.
She has now chosen to light a track for rabid and underinformed anti-frackers to Professor Paul Younger, Professor of Energy Engineering at Glasgow University and member of a Scottish Government Expert Panel which had found fracking to be viable, with certain environmental mitigation.
Ms McAlpine took it upon herself to direct the anti-fracking activists to Professo Younger by highlighting his previous non-executive directorship of a company called Five Quarter Energy and suggesting that it was involved in fracking – by calling for academics’ reseach results to be set against the implications of any commercial interests there might have before they were approved for publication.
This stunt called into question the integrity of Professor Younger’s proffered expert views and brought upon him the attention of the terrifyingly familiar rabid brigade, from whom issued abuse and death threats taken seriously by the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism unit.
Ms McAlpine had been typically loose-mouthed in setting on the dogs before failing to investigate the specific nature of Five Quarter Energy’s business focus.
In fact, this company had nothiing to do with fracking but was concerned with a different unconventional method of extraction of hydrocarbons – undersea coal seam gasification in the North Sea.
Moreover, Professor Younger’s association with Five Quarter Energy was no secret. It had been openly discussed by both Glasgow University and by the Scottish Government itself. But what do the trolls know – and indeed, what does Ms McAlpine herself know? The professor has publicly noted that Ms McAlpine made no effort to contact him to claify the situation before lighting the torch trail to guide the trolls to his door.
For those interested in coming to their own conclusions, six months ago For Argyll published this article – A serious must-listen: Paul Younger on keeping the lights on – courtesy of Radio Four – the first time we had heard of him and in which we had found him galvanic and inspirational to the point of feeling that we had to draw attention to his knowledge and his attitudes. [Note: The Radio Four show is sadly now beyond recall.]
For the record, For Argyll has serious reservations about fracking – less in theory than in pracice. The reservations come from knowing that in Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, pragnatism rules and environmental protection goes to the wall where the dollar signs loom large. The intentional failure to police adequately the operations of the aquaculture industry is an example of this tendency.
Our concerns focus almost exclusively on the disposal methods to be employed to deal safely with the very large volumes of toxic fluid wastes which the process of fracking produces.
However, at the same time, For Argyll is on the record as seeing that the only way that the Scottish Government is likely to have a chance of paying for its increasingly extravagant spending promises and limited current ability to raise tax revenues to sustain them – is to licence fracking.
We have identified this as a major political ‘rock and hard place’ entrapment into which the Scottish Government’s contradictory actions have placed itself.
Professor Younger has said that the Scottish Government is putting itself in a position of appearing anti-science; that some young scientists no longer want to work for the Scottish Government because they fear seeing the results of their work buried if they depart from support for the politically convenient stance of the moment; and that he will not work for them again himself.
None of this reflects well on a potentially independent Scotland or on the SNP Scottish Government – and none of it is likely to impact on the unquestioning worship of the faithful.