Crichton University Campus

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:58 pm on 22nd March 2007.

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Photo of Murray Tosh Murray Tosh Conservative 12:58 pm, 22nd March 2007

That suggestion sounds perfectly sensible. I do not know whether ministerial guidance is necessarily the right mechanism to use, but I have no doubt that the minister can play a very important role.

This issue poses a very significant challenge to the minister's political skills, because it has become clear that, in this case, he does not have the levers to direct. Of course, that raises profound philosophical questions about whether anyone should have the power to direct. Nevertheless, people in Dumfries and Galloway are entitled to expect not only that their services are sustained but that the opportunities that exist in other parts of the country flourish in their region.

No matter whether the minister has 10 days, 10 weeks or even 10 years left in office, he is faced with the challenge of finding some way of brokering a deal that will ensure that the University of Glasgow and, perhaps, the Scottish funding council, understand their responsibilities. After all, an issue of equity is at stake: there is a perception in the south-west of Scotland that what is being done is not fair and must be put right. That is the challenge for the current Executive—or, should the matter not be resolved by 3 May, for whoever forms the Executive after the election.