Consider the situation Crawford Beveridge now finds himself in.
Having headed up Scottish Enterprise for 9 years, quite successfully, he then made the Great Error which disqualifies him from holding any public position again.
He donated £10,000 to the SNP.
In political terms, this is a minor sum.
Beveridge has a track record of success.
As regular readers of The Kitchen will know, your humble Devil lived in Edinburgh for just over a decade and so, for those who are unfamiliar with the thrilling Scottish set-up, I shall explain: Scottish Enterprise are the QUANGO responsible for dishing out grants to Scottish businesses. Part of their remit is giving advice and training on how Scottish entrepreneurs should run their businesses—and needless to say that any grants and loans depend on those businesses ticking the correct Scottish Enterprise boxes.
OK, well, that's pretty much what one would expect, eh?
What one wouldn't necessarily expect is that the QUANGO responsible for telling businessmen how to succeed should find itself effectively bankrupt—and needing to be bailed out by the taxpayer—at the end of the 2005/06 financial year. [Alas, The Scotsman has reorganised its site since I first blogged the article, and so I have to link to my original post.]
THE Scottish Executive is set to agree a multi-million-pound rescue package for Scotland's troubled economic development agency.
Nicol Stephen, the enterprise minister, yesterday revealed that ministers were looking at a complicated accounting device to wipe out overspending at Scottish Enterprise.
He told Holyrood's enterprise committee that the agency had spent £25 million from last year's budget on economic development projects, but the money should have been set aside to cover "other costs" such as depreciation and property expenses.
David [at Freedom & Whisky] explains why this is a load of old rubbish, by amplifying what depreciation actually is (because obviously the Scottish Executive haven't got a fucking Scooby.That £50 million total over the two years , combined with an overspend on its budget of £9 million for last year, has left the agency with a total funding gap of about £60 million and jeopardised some projects it supports.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, the public-sector agency which is supposed, essentially, to help people to run, develop and keep their businesses going is, in essence, bust. Now that, Alanis, is irony. But how did it get to this parlous state?The overspend was set to be repeated this year by Scottish Enterprise chiefs, who claimed they needed to use the cash to cover the cost of projects, even if that left them with an accounting shortfall.
Right, so basically SE said, "look, we don't have any money, but we'll just keep spending it anyway."
What the fuck? What kind of example does that set for businesses? "Yeah, go ahead, spend money. Nah, don't worry if you haven't got it, something'll turn up."
In SE's case, what turned up was the sodding taxpayer, as per fucking usual. Unfortunately, most businesses aren't nearly so fortunate.
Now, to be fair to Scottish Enterprise, they didn't overspend by quite so much (or at least as far as I know) because, by September 2006, they were only looking at a £6 million overspend.
Now, I may have slightly different standards to some, but I wouldn't describe that as "a track record of success", nor would I describe it Crawford Beveridge as having run it "quite successfully".
I may be being pretty sodding harsh here, but I tend to think that anyone running an agency which aims to tell businessmen how to succeed and which then goes effectively bust should be touted as a prime example of a total fucking failure, not a success in any way whatsoever.