We were interested to note the following response from Fiona Hyslop’s office to one of her constituents who contacted her about our manifesto
After explaining that she cannot sign the manifesto itself, as she is a minister, the letter goes on to state ‘the SNP group are happy to support this campaign’. So yay – or is it?
Looking at the letter in more detail, it looks as if any support so far is barely skin deep:
First, the letter announces a total of £79.25 million in (already announced) funding for various funds which include cycling (active travel, sustainable and active travel, and cycling, walking and safer streets projects), some of which is spread over three years, as opposed to the £100 million a year on cycling specifically that we’re asking for (as 5% of the overall budget).
It then goes on to cite the 2010 Cycling by Design document as representing best practice, even though we’re asking for it to be revised to incorporate actual best practice, as seen on the continent.
The rest of the letter also consists of things the government is already doing – pilot 20mph zones in Edinburgh, the 2009 Road Safety Framework and so on. In short, this is support that consists of little more than warm words, with no changes to policy at all.
We were careful when drawing up our manifesto to make sure that each point asked for a measurable and concrete change or changes – in order to avoid being fobbed off with just such an apparently positive but ultimately meaningless response. Politicians are only human – they’re going to try to get away with the minimum they can in order to please their constituents, in the hope that that will be enough. We just have to keep scrutinising what they say and make sure it measures up to what we have actually asked for and if it doesn’t – ask again. And sorry, but this is one of those responses which just doesn’t add up.
So, don’t be fobbed off. Even if the mood music coming out of Holyrood sounds positive about cycling, as long as it’s just mood music, we need you to keep on: spreading the news, writing to them, signing the petition and above all, getting yourself to Edinburgh on the 28th April to Pedal on Parliament