IT’S all too easy to criticize public agencies, so it’s important to commend them when outstanding work is done.

We’ve rightly acknowledged it with the NHS and carers but it applies to many others. An excellent example was the work addressing the landslip on the A68, where I visited last week.

Like many, when I saw pictures of the devastation caused by the heavy rains, I feared that the vital road artery could be closed for months, with one carriageway, not just the embankment, literally washed away. However, both BEAR Scotland – responsible for that sector of the trunk road network, although they’d only taken over the contract three days before – and Transport Scotland were quickly on the scene. So too were East Lothian Council transport officials.

The road closure has been a nightmare for residents in nearby villages and communities, where displaced traffic has been passing through. Despite best efforts to limit it, both its volume and the weight and size of some vehicles has been a real concern. Thankfully, the work has been carried out to repair and improve the site and it re-opened on Monday, albeit initially with traffic controls. It can’t have been easy, but all involved have done a remarkable job.

Parliament returned last week but some things didn’t change. It wasn’t just the archaic procedures but the outcome in voting. An SNP amendment to delay the Fisheries Bill until there was clarity on what deal would be agreed with the EU was rejected by 326 votes to 49. There’s no doubt the Common Fisheries Policy was deeply damaging. I have family who were fishermen not in the county ports but the Hebrides. It was, though, similar and largely inshore. Large foreign trawlers wiped them out and often the fishing stock as well. But it was British negotiations that sold them out and so it seems it’s going to continue. Scottish interests are peripheral to Westminster and promises to fishing communities are as false now as those made in the 1970s.