Letters / Platitudes

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mr Skene for such a speedy response to my earlier letter regarding answers to questions about frontline health provision (Impressive improvements; SN, 01/05/15).

However, I think he would have been better served taking time to actually read the questions properly and actually address the questions I put to him rather than engage in a lengthy diatribe obfuscating upon the issues rather than clarifying the points I put to him on behalf of potential constituents who urged me to present them to him.


His response singularly fails to do what I asked, and instead is what can only be termed an apologia the SNP Government’s spectacular failure to address the simple questions I put to him.

They did not ask for a thesis, but answers.

I would like to assure Mr Skene that I am anything but gleeful when approaching such a serious matter, and he debases the seriousness of the matter, literally in some instances a matter of life or death, when we are considering access to General Practitioners and the crisis that health practitioners on these islands and beyond have discussed with me by suggesting as much.


I have come to expect any representative of the SNP to take shelter by using the stock “wisnae me – it was a big boy in Westminster what done it” type reply when any criticism is levelled at his party’s inaction and inactivity over the eight years of SNP maladministration.

To be clear, this criticism is not one that I have fabricated for electioneering purposes, but one that has landed on my desk from practitioners on Shetland and on Orkney from where I now write, but supported by my involvement with health issues and healthcare and social care practitioners throughout Scotland.


Platitudes of the sort he offers saying how well NHS Shetland are doing don’t really cut it, especially when some of these very same people are the ones who given the nature of their employment are restricted from publicly expressing their concerns during the lead up to the election, as per a Scottish Government memorandum expressly prohibiting any public statement on the NHS.

I shrug off Mr Skene’s personal jibe of “the most tawdry kind of spin-doctor” given that description itself and misdirected, and indeed inaccurate as I was merely the mouthpiece for others who wished me to put the very simple concerns they have to a man who seeks to represent them as I myself do.

However, putting these questions to Mr Skene was what I was asked to do, as he had not made himself available to them, and the purpose of the enterprise was that of establishing what influence he as a potential UK parliamentarian might exert on a Scottish Government on a devolved matter when it is clearly failing those it purports to serve.


I responded to their concerns, Mr Skene still hasn’t. Instead he chooses to shoot the messenger rather than respond to the message.

I’m not such a sensitive soul, and used to being subjected to all sorts of criticism, indeed I often invite criticism and do not feel threatened by it, but see it as a vehicle for improvement. It would appear Mr Skene does not share that perspective.

An earlier edition of the Shetland News first reported a “love-in” between Mr Skene and I. It certainly now appears as though, we have separated.

I am happy to announce that a la Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin we have now “consciously uncoupled”, which ought to make for some interesting discussion at Friday hustings in Stromness and Saturday’s in Kirkwall.

Gerry McGarvey
Scottish Labour Candidate for Orkney & Shetland