Friday, 9 October 2009


I think that sometimes MSPs, MPs, MEPs, Lords, Councillors and other public servants forget, as do we, that they work for us. They are our employees.

Like most employers we have the right to expect that we get the best from our workers, value for money, a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.

Having read the excellent report, and comments on FMQ’s on Subrosa’s blog, and then watching the BBC’s iplayer coverage, it occurred to me that that is NOT what we are getting. Quite seriously, and party politics aside, questions were asked which were poorly researched and smartly batted out of court by the First Minister. For example the Labour Education spokesperson, whose name escapes me for the minute, wasted the First Minister’s time (and our money) by asking a question on a matter regarding student bursaries and the late payment thereof, which had been mentioned in the “Herald”. He was able to reply to her, giving her the correct and up to date information that in fact the bursaries had been paid, pointing out that the “Herald had printed a retraction, and suggesting that she rely on more accurate sources for any future questions she might want to ask.

The Labour leader, whose name also, for some reason, escapes me, showed what a fine politician he was by making aggressive fisty cuffs gesture to the First Minister, having been rebuffed soundly on each one of the badly researched questions he had asked.

Throughout the session, whether they came from backbench MSPs or front bench spokesmen, the First Minister answered the serious question (the ones we don’t mind paying for being answered) and rebuffed the idiotic point scoring questions by humiliating the questioner for their lack of knowledge.

There are some MSPs, from all parties, that I consider earn their money, but too many should be mindful of the fact that, in any other job, especially one that pays over twice the average wage, they would be toast after their first couple of appraisals.

Sorry for the inappropriate picture. I was looking for FMQ pics and this funny little man came up. Not sure who he is, but I felt a bit sorry for him, so I gave him a wee outing on a blog!


  1. I saw FMQs as well and have to agree. When will Iain and Tavish learn the FMQ is intended to be a forum to ask the First Minister questions and not an opportunity for them to grandstand. Perhaps if either of them ever succeed in getting one over on the First Minister they might finally desist. I don't think that will happen any time soon.

  2. Munguin

    They are poor quality politicians who think that they are impressing with their stupid questions. And the rest of us who worry that things aren't going right in the country, or locally, have to watch these people grandstanding week after week while the problems don't go away.

    A few weeks ago Jeff on SNP Tactical Voting carried a story of some Labour MP laughing at the Liberal Party Conference, in particular the half empty hall. (Labour's hall was always full to overflowing, of course. Not!) He (the politician) went on say that the Liberals should go find some potholes to worry about, as if this was something really trivial and well beneath Labour's dignity. Well, you know, it's not trivial. It's not glamerous of course, but it is the kind of stuff WE worry about. And we pay THEM to worry about it too. That's one of the reasons that Labour will lose the next London elections. Not potholes alone of course. Just the fact that they have forgotten what we pay them for.

    The time when MPs could see themselves as a body of men (and latterly women) apart, rulers, above the rest of us, started dying out around 100 years ago. But like everything else in these islands, it takes a long time to work through. It is perpetuated in part by the First Past the Post system which means that in around 500 constituencies an MP can be there for life if he so wishes. It is no wonder then that the two main beneficiaries of this are set against any modernisation.

    Personally, I'm fed up forking out money in taxes to pay for below par politicians who are wasting their time and our money. The days when their acceptance was automatic because they were "gentry" and thus entitled to their position are over.

    My boss wouldn't put up with it for a minute so why should we? Actually her adaptation of "Shape up or ship out" is "Fit in or f**k off."

    That's the message this blogger wants to send to politicians of all parties.

  3. Quite seriously, and party politics aside, questions were asked which were poorly researched...

    This is the first Scottish Parliament where the Labour party has not had the use of civil servants to do their research for them as the party of Government.

    Cut loose from support for the first time they simply don't have the experience and judging from the contributions, the brains, to do independent research for themselves.

  4. True Dougthedug (welcome to the blog and thanks for posting).

    Yeah absolutely true, but that's the job. OK. They didn't expect to be in opposition, and they didn't have to expect to do their own research (although I think they employ people to help), but the shadow ministers don't actually have any ministerial roles. You'd think they might have time to read the papers at least, if not anything else.

    You're totally right. None of them is bright enough to do any of this work without Civil Servants there to prop them up and spoon feed them.

    And they want to be in Government?????

    What makes me angry is that for one hell of a lot less money than they get I'm in a situation that if I were at a conference and asked a stupid badly researched question and made myself and my company look like muppets, my boss would be looking at my pay rise, and if I did it over and over, my boss would look at sacking me.

    Why, oh why, do these muppets get automatic pay rises, indeed why are we still paying them at all, unfit for purpose as they are?

  5. The hand jesture that the wee man who's name escaped you is entirely appropriate given his propensity to shooting on his foot. Eeeeuch.

  6. Eeeeeuch indeed KBW.

    Can you remember his name?