John Swinney misled Parliament. He should now resign.

Following the last article (Confirmed: Power outage was due too much wind) and the letter ruling out a faulty relay as the cause of the power outage I have looked at the statement by John Swinney . If the letter is true (and there is very little reason to doubt it), John Swinney has clearly misled the Scottish parliament on perhaps the only substantial issue of economic competence within the remit of the Scottish parliament.

1. Rob Gibson (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what information it has on the cause of the electricity power cut which affected people in the north of Scotland on 17 April 2014. (S4T-00667)

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth (John Swinney): Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution discovered a faulty electronic relay at its Knocknagael substation, which is near Inverness. It is believed that the relay malfunctioned just before the outage last Wednesday. Circuit breakers identified a potential fault on the main network and opened to protect the systems that supply the north and the west of the country from more protracted and significant damage. SSEPD has reviewed the events and modified systems and it is confident that that will prevent a recurrence of the same problem affecting its wider network. I will place in the Scottish Parliament information centre a more detailed account of the actions that the Scottish Government and supporting authorities took during the loss of power on 16 April.

Further on Alex Johnstone specifically asks John Swinney about whether wind played any part and John Swinney gives a categorical assurance that it is not:-

Alex Johnstone (North East Scotland) (Con): The cabinet secretary will be aware that some individuals with engineering experience have suggested that overreliance on wind turbines may have contributed to grid instability. I ask that he not deny that straight away but take the opportunity to inquire whether it could have been a contributing factor.

John Swinney: I am absolutely certain that it was not a contributing factor. Mr Johnstone is free to ask whatever questions he wishes, but I would think that what I said to the Parliament in my original answer—that Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution discovered a faulty electronic relay at its Knocknagael substation, which is near Inverness—would have been enough reassurance for him.

Assuming the original letter is correct, this is about as clear a case as one can get of a government minister standing up and saying black is white on a key political issue where the SNP government have taken it upon themselves (despite the warmings of such outages) to push ahead with wind come what may.

In England he would be force to resign.

But in Scotland, our meek and mild journalists … well let’s see.


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