Willie Rennie writes: Salmond must tell us what Ryder Cup trip cost

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie writes for local newspapers in his Mid Scotland and Fife constituency:

The excitement surrounding Team Europe’s victory in the Ryder Cup should bring the opportunity that comes our way at Gleneagles in two years time into sharp focus.

250,000 people poured onto the course between the first strike of the ball during the practice rounds and the last putt of the final pairings.

This obviously presents us with a great opportunity to boost business and trade, not just for local businesses in and around Gleneagles but across Scotland as a whole. In Chicago, media outlets from 22 different countries covered every swing on the course, but also showcased the local area. We are well placed to attract people from across the world to Gleneagles, not just for the Ryder Cup but many years beyond.

Of course, a quarter of million people trundling up the A9 also presents us with challenges. Ensuring that this amount of people can get to the course quickly and safely will require a huge amount of planning.

We now have the next two years in implement a plan that will make sure the Gleneagles Ryder Cup is remembered for all the right reasons.

That is why I am pleased that the Scottish Government sent representatives of Visit Scotland and Scottish Enterprise to Chicago to learn the lessons of a successful Ryder Cup.

These fact-finding trips are important, but they also have to be cost-effective.

I was disappointed to learn that the Scottish Government is not being open and transparent about what it cost to send the delegation to Chicago.

Basic questions like how many officials made the trip and how much it cost have been ignored. The Scottish taxpayer paid for the trip so I for one would like to know how much it cost and what investment was secured in return.

When times are tough it is right that the Scottish Government is careful with public money, so reports that the First Minister stayed in a £1900 a night hotel for the week are troubling.

The easy way to clear all this up is to release exactly how much was spent on the Chicago trip.

If the Ryder Cup trip for the First Minister and his officials was as successful in preparing for Gleneagles as they claim then the Scottish Government should not be afraid of telling us what it cost.

Continuing to keep quiet on the cost simply fuels the suspicion of a government that has been far too addicted to secrecy.

The Scottish Government should answer these simple questions so we can get on with ensuring our Ryder Cup is a great success for Gleneagles and Scotland.

* Willie Rennie MSP is leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

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7 Comments

  • cynicalHighlander 10th Oct '12 - 8:43pm

    in his Mid Scotland and Fife constituency

    I think the other 15 MSPs of that area of being Willie’s alone when he only got 5.9% of the vote is rather insulting to the 94.1% who rejected him conclusively!

    Maybe if his party had followed up with transferring the Crown Estates and disbanded the SoS as in their manifesto people might have a little respect for what he says.

  • I notice Willie has chosen this rather limp story this week rather than taking to opportunity to differentiate the party from the tories by condemning Ruth Davidson’s branding of 88% of Scots, including nurses, service personnel, pensioners and firefighters as scroungers who don’t contribute to the economy. Perhaps he agrees with her? Is it an agreed unionist line?

  • Richard Shaw 11th Oct '12 - 6:21am

    Somehow I knew that the first couple of comments on this story would be (albeit pretty lame) attacks on Willie or his choice of story, rather than the substance of the article itself.

  • cynicalHighlander 11th Oct '12 - 8:20am

    Richard Shaw

    Willie, a career politician, was firmly rejected as an MP and MSP yet got on only as a list member or don’t the voters count in this abysmal democracy we have. What is he after is his name in the papers promoting himself and nothing more.

  • Dennis Brown 11th Oct '12 - 9:12am

    Surely attacking Willie Rennie for something entirely different to the substance of the report means that his original comments must have been “spot on” .

  • cynicalHighlander 11th Oct '12 - 12:27pm

    Dennis Brown

    No not at all as the man is hypocritical as he recently stated that he had a letter from Danny Alexander that Westminster would not retain the proceeds from his convoluted way of privatising Scottish Water yet has not published this correspondence. Why because it is highly unlikely and would be the first time that the treasury did this.

  • David Evans 11th Oct '12 - 2:19pm

    Truly, “It has never been hard to tell the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.”

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