The Blame Game begins: BBC Scotland blurs the lines to imply Scottish Government could have done something about risk to rail infrastructure

On BBC Scotland’s The Nine last night, James Cook, repeatedly interrupted the Scottish Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson to say:

Well, exactly! Well, that’s rather the point! Isn’t it. We hear that are these problems. In 2014, a report specifically mentioned this exact area being greatly affected by earthslips. A report last month warned that there had been over six times more flooding events in the year to 2019/20 and earthworks failures nearly trebled. Did you read that report? And if so, what action did your government take on it?

For whatever reason, Matheson did not expose Cook’s misrepresentation of the responsibilities for rail infrastructure and allows him to burst in again with a further implication.

Let’s be clear. Rail infrastructure is a reserved matter, presumably in case the UK Government ever feels the need to use it for some strategic purpose which the Scottish Government might object to and try to obstruct.

Full responsibility for the funding, the maintenance, the inspection and the warning to operators of risk, lies with the UK agency Network Rail which in turn is responsible, only, to the UK Minister. The report was a report for that UK minister and though the Scottish Government may or may not have received a copy, it could not have acted upon it.

Why was Cook not aggressively asking Grant Shapps, the UK Minister for Transport, the questions he misleadingly threw at Matheson?

14 thoughts on “The Blame Game begins: BBC Scotland blurs the lines to imply Scottish Government could have done something about risk to rail infrastructure

  1. Frustratingly ‘Lets take it on the chin’ seems almost like a common theme these days with the Scot Gov ministers including our FM. Either they are not being properly briefed before going in to these interviews or they are not up to the job. Must say I’m not a great fan of MM anyway he strikes me to be always in panic mode as if he has just been startled hiding the cookies. This has got to stop… they need to take a more robust approach or we are going to see confidence in the Scot Gov being eroded and worst still the increased support for Indy being lost. They need to wake up to the very real threat now that the MSMedia especially RS in the run up to the next year’s Elections are going to use every occasion now to damage the SNP.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A crumb of comfort; there are only about 4 or 5 hundred lost souls tuning in to BBC Nine.
      The first institution to up sticks and sack their obliging Brit Nat Jock stooges will be the BBC.
      Cook is in death rattle mode, going down with SS Britland.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Cook is an unpleasant 4rse.

    On page 28 of the document to which the link takes you is the information Cook had or should have had. It was written by Network Rail. it is the Scottish Route Weather Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

    Click to access Scotland-Route-WRCCA-Plan.pdf

    Network Rail identified areas in Scotland, based on 2006/7 and 2013/14 data, where earth slips caused delays. The delays in total amounted to 9654 minutes per year or just under 5% of weather related delays with a cost (Schedule 8) of £0.25 million per year.

    Carmont was one of the sites (seven) identified for work which was completed. The work done was “Remediation of cutting slope following emergency, after mudslide due to flooding.”

    It would be useful to know if, following this remediation work (plainly ineffective) , whether Network Rail removed Carmont as a high risk site. It,NR, keeps a list of vulnerable sites. Weather warnings, amber or red, from the Met Office for risks to infrastructure are used by NR to trigger action points. These forecasts for high risk assets are sent to Scotland Route Control Centre “48 hours in advance ” and are updated every 6 hours.

    Upon receiving such a forecast an Extreme Weather Action Team is formed and that team decides the action to be taken and resources to be used.

    Under these procedures an enhanced patrolling and monitoring regime is implemented for earthworks deemed as high risk when rainfall over 25 mm falls within a 24 hour period.

    This plan is dated 2014 so it is possible there may have been changes to it. It mentions the use of Distributed Acoustic Sensing in “remote places” to monitor earth slips. This and other questions that a reading of the Plan raise about Network Rail in connection with the Carmont tragedy are what we should now be thinking of, forgetting and dismissing the idiotic and malign work of Cook and BBC Scotland.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Why SNP ministers are so reluctant to challenge this deliberate contrived nonsense is a complete mystery to me, that ABC are always leading the SNP-bad charge is no surprise but it’s high time their spin was exposed aggressively.

    A comment noted elsewhere earlier startled me as it was quite correct, we do not yet know what caused the derailment, it is PRESUMED it was a landslip due to the excessive rain.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Bob, you are right and I may have jumped the gun. Views of the crash site, taken from a drone, do not seem to show a landslip. On the other hand, a landslip is certainly a possibility. The train passed the point of the accident once before returning to Aberdeen.


  4. Mathieson knows absolutely where responsibility lies for maintainance of the track. Why did he not bring this up.

    He used to be more composed under pressure, even agressive. Something appened when he was the justice Minister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As justice minister he would have been in close contact with those working on and in law in Scotland. 99% of whom are anti independence, that I have met anyway.
      Johanna Cherry is the exception.


    2. It’s a disgrace that he did not point out that responsibility for maintaining the tracks and other rail infrastructure in the UK, that precious union keeping us all safe as houses, not,
      lies with the givernment in London.


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