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Decision on investigation "not Swinney's to take"

Given that John Swinney is so heavily implicated in the corruption surrounding the closure of TNS, and that he imposed conditions on the school and repeatedly stated that there had been “serious child protection concerns”, he should, if he were a half-decent human being, withdraw from the decision to order an independent investigation.

On 20th September 2018, the school was perfectly safe. There were no grounds for any concern, the school roll was rising rapidly, and the future looked assured with the heavy investment planned by Witherslack.

And then, out of the blue, nothing happened.

Absolutley nothing.

But that nothing caused the Scottish Government to take action and the Care Inspectorate to issue an improvement notice. It caused Witherslack to withdraw from their commitments in the cruellest way possible, and for the Board to announce closure.

We can see from the FOI documentation that the Board was conned. With the Head of School suspended for an offence he did not, and could not, possibly commit, they were confused and leaderless. They accepted every untruth and half-truth they were told and ran squealing from their responsibilities to protect the school and its vulnerable population of young people.

They lost their heads, their sense of reason, and any moral obligation to support those who had fought so valiantly to recover from the February 2017 tragedy. The contrast could not be sharper between those who worked so hard to make the school what it was as a safe supportive environment for young people, and those who destroyed it through malice, neglect, and a complete absence of leadership.

Ask for evidence now of anything that could justify closure and John Swinney, the Care Inspectorate, and even PKC all point the finger at the Board and state that it was entirely their decision and had nothing to do with the illegal actions that they themselves took.

The scandal is now a festering sore on the face of Scottish education. The biggest corruption case that the government has faced since devolution. And as has been repeated on so many occasions on this website, it makes us look like a third world nation; dogged by cronyism, dishonesty and professional incompetence.

The true picture will emerge, but if this happens during a frenzied independence campaign, there are those who will exploit it as an opportunity to suggest that Scotland is incapable of governing itself.

Will Swinney act like a statesman and leave that critical decision to someone else?

No. He and his supporters have too much to lose.

Bill Colley