Tuesday 6 November 2018

Rally - Gazumped!

Well, that was a surprise. Not just that the MSA issued a Press Release after last Friday's meeting (see previous Post), but the fact that they did it so quickly. Which is a pity as they missed the deadline for this week's 'Motorsport News' - in which a certain columnist will be having his say - again!

Whatever, the news was welcome. Although light on detail and timescale we have learned two very important facts - progress is being made and motor sport is still very much on the Scottish Government's radar.

It has been suggested at rallies which I attend and on these social media pages that I should be part of the process. I disagree. There are better and brighter brains than mine working on it. Besides if I was part  of 'the system' I wouldn't be allowed to report on it. When I have attended such meetings in the past it has been made perfectly clear that it is only on the basis that I agree to certain conditions. I then have to choose whether I accept or decline the invitation.

So much for open Government, eh? What we all have to remember is that this is not a grave matter of state bound by the laws of the Government's Official Secrets Act. In the great scheme of things, this is simply a minor sporting matter, albeit of great interest to thousands of folk who work hard, pay their taxes and wish to pursue their leisure and sporting pursuits at weekends.

Hopefully yesterday's Statement  will mark a more positive and open approach to the process and keep us informed. To say nothing simply heightens suspicions and fears, and encourages the spread of mis-information. Even if there is nothing to report, a periodic Statement will provide reassurance, while if there is a problem, we will be better prepared to understand and be patient.

One of the reasons for the longer than anticipated process was the fact that early on it was decided not to modify the existing Scottish legislation or adopt the new England/Wales legislation, but for the Scots to write their own new Bill, incorporating "the best bits" from Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the latest England/Wales legislation.

The 'politicians' shot themselves in the foot when they initially announced that new legislation would be created and introduced, but then declined to issue any progress reports. If we had been told at the time then expectations would have been more realistic.

Anyway, I would like to think that the draft of this new Bill was being presented to the meeting delegates on Friday. That of course is pure conjecture on my part because I don't know anything. However, once that has been accepted and approved then the next step is the 12 week public consultation process.

Thereafter, if standard procedures are being followed and this pre-legislative Consultation process is complete, the Bill will have to pass three more parliamentary stages before Royal Assent can  be granted. In other words, we are still going to have to be patient, very patient.

On that basis, we need to be kept informed and if yesterday's MSA Statement is an indication of their future intent then it should be welcomed.

In the meantime, fingers crossed, eh?

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