Here's a lesson for James Dornan and his ridiculous Lothian Buses comments - Ian Murray

Tomorrow the country will come together as one to “boogie” and cheer on Scotland against England at Wembley.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 4:55 am
The heroes of Lothian Buses have kept the city moving during the pandemic
The heroes of Lothian Buses have kept the city moving during the pandemic

We may have had our expectations dampened by the defeat against the Czechs, but the hope remains. Sometimes the hope is all that keeps us foot soldiers of the Tartan Army going.

Major international sporting events have the power to bring people together, which we will witness once again later this summer when the Olympics finally get underway.

We will see it too with “Thank You Day” on 4 July when across the UK we mark the NHS’s anniversary and celebrate all those who have helped people during the pandemic.

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And, in Edinburgh South, I have had the honour of presenting community Covid hero awards nominated by local people. Staff at the Gilmerton Neurological Care Centre, Bridgend Farmhouse, Marchmont Hardware, Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre, and to Murray MacDonald who runs the sailing charity Autism on Water and has been making and delivering soup for vulnerable people during Covid.

Local people who have worked tirelessly to bring communities together very much in the spirit of my colleague and friend, Jo Cox, who was murdered five years ago yesterday.

But the spirit of togetherness we have witnessed over the past year should not just to be celebrated but built upon.

So how sad it was to see an SNP MSP continue his desperate attempts to create artificial grievance and division.

Glasgow SNP MSP, James Dornan made some extraordinary comments in the Holyrood chamber last week when he suggested the decision by Lothian Buses to suspend evening services last March was because the operator had concluded “Irish Catholics were to blame for this rise in anti-social behaviour” because it coincided with St Patrick’s Day.

An elected politician making up bigotry about Edinburgh.

I’ve yet to see an apology from Mr Dornan for his factually inaccurate and offensive remarks.

Nor have I seen any SNP politician condemn him for his ridiculous outburst.

Not even the SNP leader of the Council or Lord Provost or any SNP elected member in Edinburgh. If he is called out on his lies, he might actually stop peddling this nonsense.

For the record, as everyone in Edinburgh knows, services were suspended because buses were pelted with bricks and drivers abused by yobs for several nights.

Lothian Buses took the decision to protect staff and customers, and nothing to do with St Patrick’s Day.

Perhaps if Mr Dornan won’t apologise to parliament, he could at least have the decency to apologise to Edinburgh’s bus drivers.

During the pandemic, Lothian Buses kept services running every day.

While many of us were able to work from home, the company’s drivers went out to ensure those who needed could still travel.

Their passengers were often frontline workers travelling to hospitals or care homes to care for the sick.

The bus drivers put their own health at risk to provide a lifeline service, and everyone in Lothian Buses deserves our gratitude.

In Edinburgh, we’re rightly proud of our locally-owned bus service.

In the same way that it physically brings people together, it also unites us as a city.

So despite his attempts to create division, James Dornan has actually managed to unite us all in contempt for manufactured bigotry.

There’s a lesson for him in that.