The closure of the Forth Road Bridge has caused untold nuisance to many thousands of people in the run up to Christmas and a political problem for the SNP. 

Murdo Fraser MSP has written a concise, measures and non-partisan article on the whole episode on Think Scotland. It’s worth a read. 

Concluding his article, Murdo says “One of the strongest cards the SNP have had to play in Scottish politics up until now is that they have had, in government, a reputation for competence.” This is very true. As Murdo goes on to say, the SNP front bench have generally been head and shoulders above their opponents in Holyrood. 

He continues by saying that a reputation for competency can be hard won but easily lost. Again true. 

But we disagree that this will be the case in this instance. 

We think that a reputation for competency can only be truly lost in he eyes of the public if they look to the alternatives and can envisage them stepping into there shoes of the incumbent. 

At present time, this patently isn’t the case. 

Labour are too busy trying to figure out ow they can ‘out left’ the SNP and win back ‘their’ votes. They are lost in the dark and struggling to find the light switch. The Conservatives are still struggling to find traction – though we should all hope they become the opposition at Holyrood for the sake of political balance we’re yet to be convinced this will be the case come May.

For further evidence that competency can only be lost when the alternative looks an attractive prospect, we only need to cast an eye to Westminster. The Conservatives face their most extensive examination from the SNP most weeks. Labour seem to save their most fervent opposition for themselves.   

And, the fact is, you cannot present yourself as a credible alternative if you are struggling to unite your own party. The by-product of this is that there is almost no threat to the Tories at Westminster and the perception of them being competent – which it broadly is on big issues – remains intact. 

So, Murdo is right that the SNPs competency is up for debate. However until the public can see someone who could step into their shoes it’s not really in question.