It was an alarming scarlet colour and said, “Ready” on it. I know that the public will be hugely reassured by Mr MacAskill’s appointment because, even if they are stuck in the deepest snow on the M8, with the longest sentence ahead, no other minister will work harder for their early release on compassionate grounds, despite all the prevailing medical evidence.
Much has been done. As the minister said, nothing is foolproof and there are responsibilities that are incumbent on all of us.
I was alarmed by last week’s reports from North Lanarkshire that the local authority had said that it was concerned about whether it would be able to maintain road clearances because of attacks on vehicles in previous winters. That is completely unacceptable, and I hope that the whole community will ensure that such action is condemned and dealt with effectively. We all have responsibilities.
The preparation has been done. This year, most of the agencies have invested and set themselves up with additional preparation, so there are no excuses. Mr Macdonald’s point is fair; severe weather during the coming winter will be a real test of ministerial competence. I am confident that the minister will respond to the challenge ahead, and I wish him well.