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Pauline Martin

March 24, 2010

So will I, Pauline, so will I. Heath said he would do it in 1973; I was there when an MoD minister came up to look at possible sites in Glasgow. Never happened. Callaghan promised dispersal five years later, then picked the smallest department he could find, ODA, and moved some of it, screaming, to East Kilbride. But this time, Bootstrap Bill actually made the promise during his Budget Speech; if his lot are returned they may find it difficult to wriggle out of that. There’s another subtle difference. This time the proposal is based on cost-cutting, not job creation.

However, even that has the seeds of deception. Half of the 1000 Ministry of Justice jobs that Darling waved before the House  will be moved out of central London, but will remain in the greater London area. The other half? Well, that’s a little vague. The MoJ press release that followed the Budget includes the telling phrase, ‘where value for money is demonstrated’. In short, the proposal may have been floated , but already we know where the lifeboat is. And by the way, it’s all part of a programme that won’t be completed until 2015, in the unlikely event that it ever is.

With any luck, this will be academic. An MP friend told me months ago that the big day will be May 6, and the media seem to agree with her. Sooner the better, then we can have the hung Parliament that   may offer the best route to complete Scottish separation from Westminster.

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