In February 2013 I started an online petition opposing the privatisation of Search and Rescue helicopter services. At the time I was concerned that the movement of this service, which I believe should be free to all who need it and provided by the state, into the private sector would begin a process which would see the erosion of an outstanding service.
Skip forward 18 months and we can see the result. The UK Government has announced it is to move the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre in Kinloss to Hampshire. Another asset stripped from Scotland, the steady chip, chip, chip away at these services should be a cause for concern for everyone who may need to call on them. People living in rural communities, mountaineers and hillwalkers, fisherman, sailors, all of these groups at some point require these assets.
It is a subject which has united almost all of Scotland’s politicians. Today’s Sunday Herald reports that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to UK Prime Minister David Cameron asking him not to close the base at Kinloss. This letter was supported by Ruth Davidson, Patrick Harvie and Willie Rennie (Conservative, Green and Lib Dem). The leader of the Labour Party’s Scottish group, Jim Murphy refused to join them and did not sign the letter. There are some issues which should go above petty party political point scoring and this is one of them. I would urge everyone to write to their MP and MSP, of whatever party, and ask if they are supporting the closure of Kinloss ARCC or whether they against it. If they are against it ask them why, and politely remind them that in 2015 you have a vote to decide whether they remain in a job. After all, They Work For You.