I posted both on Facebook and twitter, with regard to Nicola Sturgeon employing the services of Barhead travel to facilitate track and trace services. There was a mixture of support and also quite a lot of very pointed and abusive criticism of the fact that I had the temerity to post criticism of what some people see as their savior.
Now some of this criticism was not that I was wrong, in what I said but quite simply that I did not have the right to say it. A position I think is very strange from people who espouse a newly free nation, with democracy and freedom of speech at its heart.
There were others who quite rightly pointed out that Bill Munro had since sold the company to an American travel group and took great delight in calling me quite an assortment of names for what they saw as a massive blunder.
There were others who merely pointed out what seemed to be an honest misinterpretation of the facts.
Barrhead Travel President Jacqueline Dobson said the agency approached the government in a move to save jobs.
“As travel is unlikely to return to pre-Covid levels before 2021, we proactively explored other business options to help preserve as many jobs as possible,” she said.
This makes it very plain that it is Barhead travel who have been contracted to operate an element of the track and trace system and not, as many were trying to make out, that the Scottish government were employing these people. It also thrown doubt on the assertion by Nicola Sturgeon that this in no way meant that private companies were being contracted to track and trace
So let me address the situation, firstly, Barhead travel is a limited company and a limited company sits on its own, one of the advantages is that ( with certain caveats) the administrators or the directors are not responsible for the actions or failures of the company.
Now when someone comes along to buy a limited company, they invariably carry out due diligence. This is an in-depth evaluation and inspection of both the finances and integrity of a company, which in a big way can be down to whoever has run the company in recent years.
So when purchasing a company you are not only buying the assets and possible debts, but also you are buying into the ethos of the company and to a point that was what happened with Barhead travel ,so much so that the new owners employed Bill Munro to run it for them. So therefore they (at least to start with, until they sacked him) were happy with the essence of the company .
Now Bill Munro ran the company in a manner which was anti-independence, so much so that he circulated an email to all Barhead employees, in the closing days of the 2014 referendum campaign making it very plain that he thought that independence would “ be a disaster” for Scotland, and bizarrely , for a travel company, that they would have a problem with passports. Therefore this was the ethos that the American travel company both inherited and indeed paid for.
Now had they wished to alter this ethos they could have done this by circulating an email explaining that all employees were free to make their own choices as far as the future of their country was concerned and they had no thoughts either way, or perhaps they could have even made the position that they were in fact supportive of an independent Scotland.
They chose not to do that therfore they were by default in the same position as the previous managing director Bill Munro. Therefore the fact that he had sold the company is of no relevance to the question of whether it was wise for Nicola sturgeon to have given a contract for track and trace to an anti-independence company, and I might add, it would appear without the necessary rules of competition and cost comparison being put in pace, as I am sure there are a multitude of call center companies with under-employed personnel at the present time. This puts the SNP in much the same position as the Tories who have been stuffing the bank accounts of their friends by handing out lucrative contracts in connection with Covid and Brexit.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding regarding my post/tweet and I still hold, that as someone who put a hell of a lot into that referendum campaign, this decision by Nicola Sturgeon was at the very least a pointed snub and slap in the face to the many people who had worked and strived throughout the campaign for a free Scotland.
Another bad decision by Nicola Sturgeon.