Another Brick Out The Wall


Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. The first little pig built his house out of straw. Then a big bad wolf came along and knocked at the door, and said, “Little pig, little pig, let me in.”

The little pig cried, “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”

The wolf then snarled “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!” So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew his house in, and ate up the little pig.

The second little pig built his house out of sticks. Then the big bad wolf came along and knocked at the door, and said, “Little pig, little pig, let me in.”

The little pig cried, “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”

The wolf then snarled “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!” So he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and at last he blew the house down, and he ate up the little pig.

The third little pig built his house out of bricks. Then the big bad wolf came along and knocked at the door, and said, “Little pig, little pig, let me in.”

The little pig cried, “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”

The wolf then snarled “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!” So he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed… and he blew the house down, and he ate up the little pig. Because the little pig worked for Miller Construction, he cut corners on spec & materials, so he could make more profit through a Public-Private Partnership with the other pigs.

And now they’ve all been eaten.

The End.

As the Edinburgh Schools scandal continues to rock the country, I thought it’d be worthwhile looking at what Greenock & Inverclyde’s SNP candidate had to say about PPP/PFI in his first and second terms in parliament.

From the debate on the school estate on 17th April 2008:

The cabinet secretary will be aware that that excellent report highlights that by 2012, annual charges for PFI projects are likely to reach more than £500 million, with just over £200 million being funded by the Scottish Government. The report did not mention who will fund inflationary increases. Will the cabinet secretary agree to look into the matter? Does he agree that the PFI funding mechanism is not the best use of limited public funds?

From the independent budget review on 9th September 2010:

I turn to the CSR in October. One of the first things that John Swinney will have to account for in writing up his budget will be to ensure that the PPP bombshell is covered. The public-private partnership is a funding method that the former Executive and public bodies used. The correct way forward is to look at other methods that would be financially beneficial to the taxpayer. I therefore welcome the IBR and the call that is made in the report for the role of the Scottish Futures Trust to be expanded. On page 129 of the report, the panel suggests that

the Scottish Government should consider enhancing the role of the Scottish Futures Trust to allow it to lead improvements in capital procurement” and in paragraph 6.12 on page 122, that the Scottish capital budget

“is projected to fall by £900 million by 2014-15”.

In paragraph 6.19, the report says that it is clear

“that parts of the capital programme are more exposed to reductions in Scottish Government’s capital budget”.

In its annual report, which was published last week, the Scottish Futures Trust said that last year’s activities will accrue savings of £114 million.

If Opposition members do not believe what the SFT says in its annual report—which I am sure they probably will not—I hope that they respect the independent London School of Economics, which verified the Scottish Futures Trust figures. The Scottish Futures Trust is delivering for Scotland. As the Confederation of British Industry Scotland says,

“the SFT is performing a useful role in delivering expert advice in areas of financing, procurement, housing and best value.”

That is positive support from an external body. The SFT is a welcome addition to the funding of capital projects. In future, I hope that more schools will be built using SFT financing as compared to PPP/PFI.

Then a few months later, on 4th November 2010 (this one is particularly timely):

(The Other Party) members also talk about the NHS and job losses. What they have conveniently forgotten is that there are more nurses and NHS staff now than when the SNP came to power in 2007. Added to that is the additional investment of the dental hospital in Aberdeen.

The summary of today’s debate is thus: a vote for (the Other Party) will stop investment in free personal care for the elderly, but it will buy newspapers for 18-year-olds. It will cut the number of nurses and doctors after the record numbers provided by this SNP Government. With GARL, (the Other Party) will introduce the farce of the Edinburgh trams to the west of Scotland so that our economy can suffer too. It will scrap the Scottish Futures Trust, which has already brought in £111 million of savings according to independent reports, and it will extend the hugely costly PPP/PFI hammer-blow projects. (The Other Party) will scrap the council tax freeze, affecting the poorest and the elderly the worst, and it will introduce a basket of taxes to make Scotland the most heavily taxed part of the UK. The plans are estimated to cost Scottish households some £3,000 in additional taxation over the next four-year parliamentary session.

There are many more examples, but I am sure that most of us in the chamber are depressed enough by the long list of despair that (the Other Party) will be offering Scotland next year. I am sure that the telephone lines out of the Parliament will be busy as MSPs and staff call their general practitioners to get a prescription for Prozac at the thought of (the Other Party) waging war against local communities and our constituents if it wins next May. Thanks to the SNP Government, prescription charges are down to £3 and will be free from next April. As we know, (the Other Party) wants to hike the prescription charge as well. I do not know what has happened to the air of optimism that Ed Miliband is talking about, but it certainly has not filtered into the (the Other Party) psyche up here. The bottom line is that voting (the Other Party) will seriously damage our health.

I spoke in (the Other Party’s) economy debate in April, and things have not moved much further forward since then. The only way in which progress can be made and that this Parliament and Scotland can move forward is with the normal powers of an independent Parliament, rather than the pocket money Parliament so favoured by the unionist parties. I urge the chamber to back the amendment in the name of John Swinney.

And finally from the debate on capital projects on 20th February 2013:

When we consider the role of the NPD model, it is important to remind ourselves of where we came from: the disastrous PFI schemes that were initially developed by (the UK Government Party) and taken to the extreme by (the Other Party). In local government alone, PFI debts have reached the staggering figure of more than £13 billion—more than the annual funding allocation to local councils. In Inverclyde, we see schools to the capital value of £80 million costing £312 million, while in neighbouring Renfrewshire schools with a capital value of £110 million have been transformed into a debt of £538 million.

Even (the Other Party) MPs such as Margaret Hodge are now realising their mistake, stating:

“The irony is that we privatised the buildings but nationalised the debts. It’s crazy.”

Is that sentiment shared by (the UK Government Party’s) not-so-secret weapon in Scotland—their friends in (the Other Party) —or is (the Other Party) too busy providing the human shield for (the UK Government Party), who are determined to keep Scotland constrained within its current powers? Judging by John Swinney’s intervention on Richard Baker earlier, that certainly still seems to be the case.

With a yes vote in 2014 and the full powers of independence, we could do much more. We would not have to rely on the block grants from London, which are being cut. I certainly hope that, in 2014, the people of Scotland will vote yes to make the infrastructure programme in Scotland a damn sight better than it is now.

An insightful guy like this could do with a third term, eh?

And just for comparison’s sake, here is Duncan McNeil, the Other Party’s MSP for Greenock & Inverclyde since 1999, on PFI/PPP back in 2002:

I am glad to have the opportunity to say a few words in the debate today. Tom McCabe, as the Finance Committee’s convener, highlighted some of the sensible recommendations that are to be found in the report, out of which I have selected two that appear to me to be headline recommendations.

The first of those recommendations is that PPPs have made a valuable contribution to bringing about major public sector capital projects such as schools and hospitals.

All in all, it’s just a… ‘nother brick out the wall…


Stuart’s website

Stuart’s Twitter

Stuart’s Facebook page and profile


2 thoughts on “Another Brick Out The Wall

  1. fine piece of trawling through the archives. well done.

  2. […] the Smalltrader heroically usurping Jim the Besieger, even as the Rosemen’s prize buildings collapsed around him. Iain the Astute solidified his citadel at Dunbar, being highly accomplished hunkering […]

What're your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.