Tuesday, 28 April 2009

A delegation of MSPs

I just read David Maddox's latest piece at The Steamie (excellent blog for Holyrood gossip by the way, check it out).

Here's a screenshot of it - until they sort out their links for the blog, I guess I have to resort to this method.

Anyway, here's what the first sentence says:

"Patrick Harvie has today led a delegation of Green MSPs on a tour round Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station in Ayrshire."

A delegation of MSPs you say, Mr Maddox. Led by Mr Harvie. Hmmm. Suggesting what - five or six? Ten at a push?

Except that the Greens only have two MSPs - one of which is co-leader, Patrick Harvie. So the "delegation of MSPs" was probably just him and Robin Harper (assuming he was there) plus several other Greens who are not MSPs - researchers, press officers, activists.

Would I be out of line in suggesting that the first line of that story was taken from a Scottish Green Party press release - probably written by James - to make the parliamentary party sound that bit bigger and more important? Might I also be out of line to suggest a lack of editing on the part of Mr Maddox in replicating that as the first line of his post? Or am I simply being a bit mischievous?

UPDATE: James assures me that he never put out the press release until after Maddox wrote the piece... and that it explicitly states that Patrick Harvie was there with three Glasgow Councillors. Thus might we then be putting it down to a wee mistake?


James 28 April 2009 at 10:43  

You'd be wrong. The blog went up before the release went out, but thanks for the invitation to post the whole press release! I went too, incidentally, with one other member of staff:


For immediate release 27 April 2009


Today Green MSP Patrick Harvie and three of Glasgow's Green Councillors visited Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire, less than two weeks after a similar visit by Ed Miliband, the UK Energy and Climate Change Minister. The Minister used his visit to press for a new generation of nuclear power stations in Scotland, but Greens support Scottish opposition to these plans.

Hunterston B is currently scheduled to be decommissioned in 2016, 40 years after it opened, and in recent years it has regularly run at between 30% and 40% below full capacity. (1) The Scottish Green Party has always opposed nuclear power on several grounds, including cost, reliability, security, waste, and the diversion of resources away from low-carbon renewable technologies.

During the visit, the party met the station director and workforce representatives, and explored issues including:

* Total life cycle carbon emissions from nuclear power;
* Technical problems arising from the age of the plant;
* Safety issues, including boiler cracks, leaks and outages;
* Volumes of nuclear waste materials and its treatment and handling; and
* Local environmental impacts.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The advocates of new nuclear power stations regularly criticise their opponents for not being up for the debate. I'm always delighted to have this debate in Holyrood, or even inside a nuclear plant. The staff at Hunterston were very helpful, and we are grateful for the time they took to arrange the visit and show us around. However, all the tea and sandwiches in the world wouldn't be enough to persuade us that nuclear power has a future in this country or anywhere else. It's no more the solution to our energy crisis than nuclear weapons are the solution to terrorism.

"This has been a fascinating day, and we're pleased to have been able to see this piece of energy history up close and personal. An era is drawing to an end, whatever David Milliband may believe, but there are still opportunities. We met a lot of highly skilled staff today, and Britain's expertise in the civil nuclear industry must now be turned towards decommissioning and waste management around the world. There will be decades more useful work to do, but there must be no new plants."


1. See: http://www.british-energy.com/article.php?article=253

James Mackenzie
Media and Communications
Scottish Green MSPs
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Malc 28 April 2009 at 10:51  

No problem James...

So basically what your saying is that Maddox made up the delegation of MSPs bit!

Hope you had a nice time, and didn't get a nuclear tan or anything!

James 28 April 2009 at 10:54  

You're not going to trick me into criticising the Fourth Estate over this.

No tan so far, and we were also (marginally) reassured by the number of heads each sheep had outside.

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