Saturday, 11 September 2010

SNP hypocrisy or journalistic licence?

Interesting story in this morning's Herald about the possibility of the SNP Government reinstating state aid to Scotland's airline industry in the form of the Route Development Fund, which was banned under EU rules forbidding state subsidies*. Of course, subsidising this sector of the economy would contradict the SNP's green agenda and emphasis on renewables, recently demonstrated by a discussion paper on road-tolling and workplace parking levies. Also, there's something of a debate going on at the moment about savage public spending cuts, and although commercially the airline industry has had a torrid time of late, it might not be readily thought of as the most deserving recipient of increased public spending, despite the more general benefits that might accrue to Scotland in the form of tourism and suchlike.

However, although the article is entitled 'SNP moves to reinstate direct aid for airlines' and begins "The Scottish Government is to re-examine the case for directly supporting airlines to ensure that they develop more flights to the country’s airports", there is nothing else in the text to link the issue to the SNP, and instead it's quango Transport Scotland that will be lobbying the EU for a change in the rules to allow state aid to the industry. And of course the industry itself is heavily involved in the pitch, thus much of the story is saying little more than that the turkeys are asking for Christmas to be postponed.

Of course, Transport Scotland could well be doing the SNP Government's bidding for it, thus the Herald's headline may be entirely merited, and thus the SNP stance on this issue is at odds with its approach to climate change. After all, they do keep banging on about North Sea oil...

*The article doesn't use the nasty s-word, and instead employs euphemistic phrases such as "direct support" and "direct aid", which sound more appropriate for government help in relation to some kind of third world disaster.

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