by Fergus Ewing
NEVER let it be said that the SNP shirk their responsibilities or refuse to accept blame for their failings.
Inverness candidate Fergus Ewing – an MSP for the past 22 years – yesterday tried to pin the blame for today’s worst-ever housing shortage on Maggie Thatcher.
He said: “Many of us still feel the impacts of the housing crisis after the right to buy policy was brought in by Thatcher’s government allowing many council homes to be bought at very low prices but the demand for the creation of more was not met.”
Thatcher was elected Prime Minister in 1979, 42 years ago. And she died in 2013.
But it’s still all her fault.
Ewing clambered aboard the Holyrood gravy train with the SNP in 1999, and is still very much alive.
But modern-day housing problems? Nothing to do with him or his nationalist cronies.
Thatcher is up there with Boris Johnson as one of the SNP’s leading all-time hate figures.
Ewing would have thought the mere mention of her name would deflect any criticism away from SNP Government Ministers, of whom he is one, over the chronic housing shortage in Scotland.
As far as members of the SNP cult goes, he’s right.
But most reasonable people would consider it a stretch too far to go back more than four decades to unearth a culprit responsible for many people – and particularly young people – struggling to get on the housing ladder or even get a roof over their head in modern day Scotland, where the SNP have been in power for the past 14 years.
Ewing tried to defend the SNP’s dismal failure on housing provision.
“Since the SNP took office in 2007, we have tried to address this issue and we’ve delivered over 96,750 affordable homes across Scotland,” he said. “In our manifesto we are going further once again with a building target of 100,000 homes – 70 per cent of which will be built for social rent.”
A total of 96,000 “affordable homes” over 14 years works out at fewer than 7,000 a year, or less than 20 a day – across the whole of Scotland.
Meanwhile the housing waiting list in many areas, including in Inverness and the Highlands, is so long that some people don’t even bother joining it anymore
The SNP are also ardently in favour of “free movement” across the EU, and cite it as one major reason for independence and rejoining the European Union.
People from Poland, Romania, Lithuania and elsewhere would resume being able to come here wherever and whenever they liked.
Fergus Ewing’s colleague, Inverness MP Drew Hendry, recently wrote an anguished newspaper column about the difficulties people in Inverness are having in even being able to find properties to rent, because the costs or so high.
Hendry, like Ewing, would rather have his tongue extracted with a pair of rusty pliers than concede that a mass influx of EU migrants over the past 15 years has greatly exacerbated housing and accommodation problems in Inverness.
That obvious reality contravenes the “EU adoration” diktat from SNP Central Command. But despite the lack of housing for people already living here, wherever they’re from, they now want to mass influx to continue.
Blaming Maggie Thatcher for today’s housing problems is a much more desirable option for Fergus Ewing and the SNP.
Even though she departed office as Prime Minister 30 years ago, and has been pushing up the daisies for the past eight.