I was amused to read that Hugh Gaffney MP is now demanding that the present Monklands Hospital site be included in the evaluation process for the hospital upgrade. This will be the same Hugh Gaffney who stated in June last year that he was “delighted” that Gartcosh had been shortlisted, and highlighted the attributes of the Gartcosh site, one of which included cycle routes, a grreat comfort to those who would rather avoid the circuitous train ride to Glasgow and back. Mr Gaffney has held his two jobs for a while now but surely he cannot also hold two diametrically opposing views at the same time, although that is a trait being displayed more and more by the Labour Party; for and against Brexit. For and against nuclear weapons. For and against a new hospital.
Mr Gaffney is not alone in trying to occupy two positions at once. Richard Leonard also petitioned to keep the hospital on its present site and later, to hedge his bets, was photographed with a sign demanding that the health board keep the hospital in the “Monklands area”.
Labour appear to have more positions on this issue than a Rubik’s cube, and are unable to hold one position on it for any length of time. The cynic in me might think that they are merely trying to find a position contrary to that of the SNP (also to be to keep the Monklands in the Monklands) and are churning out petitions simply to ensure they remain in the papers and at the end of the process may inadvertantly have backed the winning site and can claim victory. Or defeat, depending on their mood at the time. Groucho Marx famously said “those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others”. In respect of the Labour Party on the issue of Monklands Hospital, I can think of nothing more apt.
As a final point, with all this arguing and flip-flopping going on no one seems to be asking the most important question: whatever the outcome, wherever it may be built, is the funding to build it available? If not then all the arguments about where it should be are utterly pointless.