Editorial: Taxi’s, leadership and scary jet fighters

The weekly opinion of the Editor of topical events in Moray…..

TAXI DRIVERS ARE quite often the first Moray residents visitors will see – so if the driver turns up in a dirty cab wearing a football top and a pair of jeans, it is perhaps not the best impression of our region.

So the long awaited changes that are hopefully to be passed by Moray Council this week to the taxi drivers licensing requirements should be welcomed.

Not everyone thinks so of course – the loudest voice against the imposition of smart dress appears to be coming from outside the region, in the form of the not inconsiderable voice of author Irvine Welsh.

Of course, one has to wonder if Irvine would ever have spoken out had his most recent book not been about a rampaging taxi driver.

Fortunate then, perhaps, that here in Moray more attention will be taken of the taxi companies themselves who, while rightly having a few reservations, are firmly behind the move. So hats off to common sense.

Council Administration

I doubt very much I was the only Moray voter who was not at all surprised to read that the SNP group had declined the opportunity to take on the administration of Moray Council.

Handed an ideal excuse in the form of the dithering Tory councillor James Allan changing his mind – without pressure from others, of course – and realigning himself to the Independent/Tory administration, the SNP group said the “numbers did not add up”.

Do we buy into that? Sure it was tight – making the assumption that renegade Tory Douglas Ross would side with the SNP, it was 12-12. It was assumed that the two Labour councillors would also side with the administration.

Not necessarily – according to one of them the SNP broke off talks having offered no detailed structure of a future SNP-led administration.

So was it the numbers that did not add up – or was it the will was never there in the first place?

RAF Safety

Two stories this week surrounding the RAF caught the eye – and both revolved around safety issues for those of us living in the proximity of the base at Lossiemouth.

It emerged that two Tornado jets came too close for comfort to each other as they flew over Moray, with an inexperienced air traffic controller being held responsible for the near miss.

What struck me about this was not a fear of an accident over Lossiemouth – that risk has always existed, has of course tragically happened in the past and will remain a constant threat to the community. No, what struck me was the speed in which our local MP linked the incident to the tragic events of 2012 when three airmen lost their lives over the Moray Firth.

Of course he has every right to link the events – but to highlight that collision warning systems have not been fitted to Tornado aircraft? Would such a system been of any assistance in this particular situation?

The second was the Ministry of Defence suddenly realising that they had been given a wrong map reference for a new housing estate to be built just yards from the RAF base.

They originally declined to offer any comment or objection, someone working out that the grid reference given to them was for the Moray Council HQ.

I’m pleased to see that it was finally realised that the address line for the new estate clearly stated Lossiemouth and not the centre of Elgin, so someone, at least, was paying attention albeit a little late.

But – do these two errors in the detail behind health and safety procedures at the base inspire confidence in the MoD from our community?