Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has responded today to social media scuffles between Cabinet Secretary for Transport Michael Matheson and the rail company LNER over social distancing rules on trains between England and Scotland. Mr Carmichael called on the minister to take more care over Scottish Government plans to cut air traffic control jobs from the isles rather than picking fights.
During the dispute Matheson claimed that social distancing on trains was a “legal requirement” despite this not having previously been asserted, and suggested that all public transport required a 2m distancing rule (which would significantly change the way public transport operates in Scotland).
Mr Carmichael said:
“If Michael Matheson were as eager to do the day job as he is to pick fights with train companies on Twitter then we might not have quite so many ongoing transport crises on land, sea and air. From his boneheaded refusal to change course on plans to strip air traffic jobs out of the isles to the never-ending ferry fiascos, Mr Matheson would do better to quit tweeting – or just quit, full stop.
“If the Cabinet Secretary does not even know what Transport Scotland agreed in advance with LNER on social distancing rules then it does not inspire confidence that he is on top of his brief. Either he is in a public dispute with his own government agency or he simply does not know what is going on. In the middle of a pandemic we could do with a little more clarity and a little less of the performative nationalism.”