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KENNETH ROY is editor of the Scottish Review.

This hilarious article from the latest edition brilliantly lances the vanity of this Scottish government airport purchase and the vacuous claptrap that now masquerades as a business plan. It is reprinted with kind permission...

The escalator went down again yesterday. But only in a manner of speaking. In fact, the escalator wasn’t going anywhere. It was another of its off-days.

Instead I shimmied along the long corridor above check-in, past Sleek Media and the Prestwick Spaceport Consortium until I reached the chapel at the top of the stairs, said a silent prayer, and then took off supersonic style on the final unimpeded stage of the daily pilgrimage to the newspaper stand at W H Smith.

‘How many flights today?’ I asked needlessly.

‘Just the one’.

We exchanged the grim, knowing smiles of old lags. I didn't ask where it was going. My favourite is Tenerife South. I can just about pronounce that one. We have only 13 flights a week, so we get to know them intimately. By the time I arrive just before 9am, the one flight may have gone and we have the rest of the day to ourselves.

From W H Smith I enjoy striding down the magnificent concourse, deserted but for the lone gun-totin' representative of Police State Scotland.

Wow. What a space. I never cease to marvel at its potential for some grand event. You could, for example, stage a decent-sized ‘Yes’ rally, celebrating the winter timetable of the Scottish Government's very own airport, with keynote speeches about the merits of public ownership from Tommy Squib and Elaine C Strobe.

Emma Cowing was here a few days ago. That's Emma Cowing – 'Controversial, Cutting, Compelling' – of the Scottish Daily Mail. There are so few people around that it's a wonder I didn't spot her. Had I done so, I would have invited her into Liberator House for a little something from Islay's patisserie.

We have to buy in these days, since McIntyres – our only bar – pulled down the shutters without warning. Emma seemed to think it was still open, but it ain't. The distinguished Scottish Review columnist, the Midgie, who rented a booth at the far end, was unceremoniously evicted and told to come back in March 2015. He was last seen heading for the new tearoom in Monkton (Polly's, and a very nice scone they do too).

Why would anyone want to fly from Prestwick, wondered Emma in that tone of astonishment patented by the columnar classes. ‘Why, oh why? as the late John Junor used to inquire with majestic rhetoric.

 Emma drew a wonderful sketch of our remote community, making it sound marginally less accessible than Cape Wrath, and went on to marvel at the SNP's idiocy in taking over an airport – an airport of all things – in so far-flung a spot.

But Emma, you really should do the maths. We are only 29 miles from the freedom city of Glasgow and although our railway station isn't up to much – editorial candour obliges me to acknowledge that it's rusting over as we speak – trains continue to stop every half hour. Even if the only traveller they pick up is the editor of the Scottish Review.

Emma must have been aware that, long before I got my own railway station, many fashionable people adored flying from Prestwick. It was the gateway to an exciting new world, a terminal of glamour and romance, such a happening place – not that we talked of happening places in those days – that the Midgie, then an eager young hack, made a name for himself with his celebrity news agency.

He was around when Elvis landed here briefly. The Midgie continues shamelessly to dine out on his encounter with the visiting GI. Or did until he was evacuated to Polly's Tearoom for the rest of the winter.

The Scottish Daily Mail headlined its two-page spread 'Salmond International Airport'. Catch up. Even the Scottish Daily Mail must have heard that we have been renamed Sturgeon International in honour of the prophetess and aviation pioneer who, since she took over the joint barely a year ago, has already succeeded in cutting the number of flights by 66 per cent.

Emma remarks, and here she has a point, that such passenger traffic as there is through Sturgeon International contributes nothing to the Scottish economy. It flies Scots out of the country and, after a week on a continental beach, flies them back again. It brings no-one to Scotland. It is simply a conveyor belt for hen parties and stag nights.

The first thing our absentee landlord did was order the removal of the many visual representations of 'Pure dead brilliant', an ill-conceived slogan familiar to the inhabitants of freedom city but capable of being misunderstood by foreign pilots on their first descent into Scotland. We are no longer pure dead brilliant. That's widely accepted. We're just deid. But apart from the scraping off of the discredited motif, there isn't much visible sign yet of that multi-million-pound investment promised by our masters in Edinburgh.

Emma Cowing claims that the Scottish Government, which was so recently delighted to have its own airport to play with, is already disenchanted by the malfunctioning new toy. I have news for the Scottish Government. Airports are like westies. They aren't just for Christmas.

Still, now we have 'a strategic vision' to keep us warm through the dark, provincial winter, when even the most cheerful, among whom I have never been counted, start to feel like Uncle Vanya. But that was before the strategic vision.

According to 'The Board of Directors' – I have absolutely no idea who they might be – the strategic vision is to produce 'a high quality, exceptional value and vibrant aviation, aerospace and visitor hub'. Walter Humes wants me to deliver a lecture on the end of literacy, and I have only half of it written. But already I have arrived at literacy's final destination – it's a high quality, exceptional value and vibrant aviation, aerospace and visitor hub.

Much of this document appears to have been inspired by the work of Romain Py, the 'special adviser' brought in by Sturgeon International – 'Py in the Sky', as he was known in the local press. I was supposed to have lunch with Monsieur Py to outline my own strategic vision – that if we couldn't attract any passenger traffic to speak of (and it was obvious then how the wind was blowing), we could convert part of the building into a conference and exhibition centre. Lunch didn't happen – my fault – so I put the idea in an email.

There is no mention of this money-making proposition in the strategic vision. No mention, either, of a lucrative four-letter word. Although, as Emma has discovered, we are mainly cows and sheep down here, we do have championship golf courses. Mr Trump, the new owner of Turnberry, who parks his private jet outside my office, could be prevailed upon – once his bête noire, the first minister, has gone – to advise on the commercial potential of the chaps in the Pringle sweaters. I understand they are particularly nutty about golf in Scandinavia and Germany, where airlines are known to operate – though, so far, not to Prestwick. A high-quality golf airport? It doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone.

What this strategic vision lacks in ideas it more than makes up for in verbiage. The 'key success factors' include 'a strong leadership and vision to drive the business forward and change the culture to a more long-term and sustainable approach' (oh, I get it: the vision is to have a vision); 'opportunistic value realisation' (sell the bloody place); and 'an efficient and lean cost structure, with a significant operating leverage, coupled with a continuing cost control and multi-skilling approach' (lots of lovely redundancies).

Having read the vision thing, I am not convinced that, even with its extensive new powers and its impressive mastery of the English language, the Scottish Government will make a success of running Prestwick Airport.

But at least they won't be able to blame Westminster if they mess it up. There will be nowhere for them to go – with the possible exception of Malaga on Tuesday. Hurry while flights last, and do remember to pack your kilt.