DISILLUSIONMENT with the SNP is running high in the Inner Hebrides and it will take radical change to restore trust, according to Joe Reade, chair of Mull and Iona Ferry Committee.

“I’ve just resigned my SNP ­membership, and it was explicitly ­because of how the ferries issue is being handled,” he said. “I am sure there will be a lot of people who will vote differently in the islands in the next elections because they perceive we are being badly managed – ­although I am not sure there is a credible alternative.”

Reade said that while he still believed in independence, islanders were angry about their needs being ­ignored and the Scottish Government would have to demonstrate more ­competence on the key problems ­affecting them to regain support.

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“Let’s see action on getting to grips with the ferries issue,” he said. “Let’s see strategic and structural change, not just doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a better ­result – that is madness. Look at why the system is failing, which agencies are failing and fix it.”

Reade pointed out that it hadn’t helped that “a parade of ministers” had gone through the transport brief.

“That indicates that it is not ­considered important,” he said. “Jenny Gilruth (inset) was actually a really competent minister – she was really getting to grips with it, she listened, she was forthright and she had an ­inquiring mind and could actually hold people to account which is what is needed.

“To then move her on to another brief just months after being put in position when transport and ferries is such a high political issue at the moment and to put in someone who has since resigned just adds to the sense we have things done to us rather than things done for us.

“Businesses need compensation, they need a ­functioning ferry system and ­island communities need to be listened to. ­Everyone has been saying ‘give us more ferries but make them ­smaller so we have a more ­frequent and flexible service’ but time and again CMAL keeps ­delivering huge ­behemoths that are ­incredibly ­expensive to build and operate and deliver a really inflexible and ­infrequent service.

“There is no one in government who is able to mark their homework because if you have a different transport minister every couple of months, how on earth do they have the ­authority or the knowledge to ­question and ­correct bad ­management by ­government agencies?

“I would get rid of CMAL ­altogether and also consider whether a single state monopoly is the way to do it as it is at present,” said Reade.