Thursday, 18 November 2010

CLOSING TIME AT THE OLD BANK BAR, OR FIRST MINISTER'S QUESTIONS

Well... it was like Saturday night at pub closing time in parliament today. Even the Presiding Officer who is well known for his tolerance, lost the cool with the noisy and unruly drunks, I mean MSPs. “Sit down Mr Gray”, said he. “When I say Order, I mean order.” I was waiting for “Time gentlemen please”.

Elmer was his usual dreary self today, tearing the budget, which he appeared to have only skimmed, apart. He had one good line though when he was complaining that the FM had spent half a million on speech writers. “I’ve heard the first minister’s speeches, could we have our money back? “said our brave boy. I was thinking that perhaps Alex could lend him just one of them, for the man is tedious in the extreme.

I can’t see what he had to complain about in John’s budget. You freeze the pay of the better off, reduce the pay of the best off and give the least well off a pay rise... What could be fairer, but no, the SNP did it and someone once told Elmer his job was to oppose, so he opposes. Duh.

Alex pointed out to him that, on radio, he had admitted that pay freezes were necessary; then he had been seen outside parliament demonstrating under a banner which said “no pay freeze” . He was, Eck reckoned, the only leader to join a demonstration against his own policies.

Of course they were all showing off because there was a delegation of distinguished visitors from Japan in the gallery. Lord only knows what they though. I’m surprised they weren’t throwing nuts of the people down below in the chamber.

And so to Annabel: As so often Ms Goldie concerned herself with Higher Education. A worthy cause. She said that the Conservatives had a plan to give more money to Universities and to students in need, as opposed to the opposite from the SNP, and she quoted part of what Professor Bernard King had said about it “not being sustainable for any longer than 1 year”. Eck of course was able to finish the quote which thanked the government for not delivering “deeper and more damaging cuts”. And he added a little praise from Professor Muscatelli (one of Annabel’s heroes, whom she quotes when giving the First Minister his Latin lessons) saying that he was happy that research funding had not been reduced. The Condem coalition’s way of dealing with student funding was not the way Scotland, with its proud tradition of higher education, should go.

And so to Tavish, who wanted to know if the FM agreed with a criticism made by SNP councillors in Glasgow of pay rises for people on over £80,000. Eck sidestepped it neatly saying that he agreed with what John Swinney had set out in his budget, and told Tavish what that was, in case he’d been dozing off when it was read out yesterday.
There was a pile of statistics from Eck about how they would reduce the top salaries. Mike Rumbles was overheard by the FM, asking how they (the government) knew they could meet these reductions. That gave him the opportunity to point out that they had met or exceeded every target they had set themselves in 3 ½ years of government. Silly Mike. Never give Eck a chance to boast for he will surely take it.

And so to the others: Anne McLaughlin, Robert Brown: Good questions on asylum seekers in Glasgow, and excellent answer from the FM. Questions on low carbon electricity generation, fishing, and fishing policies, in particular discards. (We really must have our own representation in Europe.)

And so, once again, to lunch, the best part of the day.

28 comments:

  1. What can one say if that is the quality of the opposition other than dress them up as comic characters as at least one can have a laugh. I believe that LD's support is plumetting so I give Tavish a cassock then he can walk around preaching on high. I wont go further as I would hate to offend Dean after the recent accolades he achieved.

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  2. Nah, Annabel's a wee darling. I think Alex likes her, and she him. The best of a bad bunch, very much the best. Head and shoulders above the rest.

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  3. What worries me is that people will see the Labour rabble on TV and think this is the caliber of all Scottish politicians.

    There should be a caption under Gray, Kerr etc every time they are on the box, saying Labour MSP, the rest are better than this.

    P.S. Given Grays performances lately would anyone join a coalition to make him First Minister?

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  4. LOL yeah Dubbie. They're a total embarrassment. Gray was pathetic this afternoon, even more so than usual.

    Erm yeah, Tavish would do anything to be Deputy First Minister...he's a Liberal after all. it's what they do, sell souls for a red box and a car...

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  5. Tris

    Will the Lib Dems be in any position to make anyone first Minister after May?

    It would appear from the latest opinion polls. Reuters/IPSOS Mori Political Monitor, makes grim reading for them.

    Clegg sold every manifesto commitment they had for the Ministerial Mondeo.

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  6. The SNP cut higher education budget by -12%, yet increase sports spending +22.7%.

    There are legitimate questions to be put over SNP priorities given the budget settlement, and Goldie couldn't be seen as a responsible opposition leader if she didn't question and quiz these kinds of SNP policies, and spending priorities.

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  7. And I support the Scottish Conservative higher education budget for Scotland btw

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  8. That could be their problem Dubbie. It just could be that even if Labour has more seats than SNP (I mean it was a close run thing last time and there's been four years of government, so it's a possibility we have to face), that teeh Liberals might only have 10, or even fewer... in which case it could well be that the two together don't have a majority, and unless the Tories join with them in an unholy alliance ...

    On the other hand they might do minority government in coalition. A few more seats is better than a few fewer seats...

    Whatever, the Liberals seem to be happy to rip up their manifesto and join in with whomsoever will offer them a seat at the big boys' table.

    It's very disappointing, but Clegg has finished them off, as far as I can see.

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  9. I'm not for a second saying that Annabel should ask these questions. She has, by and large acted as a responsible opposition leader and Alex has treated her as such. You only have to listen to the doiference in the tone of his voice when he is answering her questions from when he is answering Elmer Thingummy's. He roars back at the Gray, who asks stupid questions and uses his little opportunity to be heard by party politicking to no positive effect at all. He has failed to lay one on Eck since he got the job as the best of a very very poor bunch.

    I'm sure they asked the boy that cleans the canteen if he wanted it, but he turned it down, so they had to have Elmer.

    If Gray spent a little less time with his long winded stupid questions that the FM always pulls to pieces, then perhaps some backbenchers would get a chance to ask sensible questions we want to know the answer to.

    In short Elmer "shut up".

    Of course you agree with the Conservative policy Dean. You're a Conservative office holder, and it's your job. I wouldn't expect any less. :)

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  10. Oh, I forgot to praise you Tris - that is an excellent photo of Goldie! She looks lovely and statespersonlike in that one!

    [oh and you can keep on flattering me like that Tris all you want, but I am only a student and CF branch VP, a tadpole in the shifting sea of politics] ;)

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  11. Gray is a piece of opportunistic shite and I hope his next one is a hedgehog, it may bring some sign of life out of the prick. Imagine him as first minister!

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  12. Dean

    I see you forgot to tell us what the torys are cutting from the higher education budget in England and Wales.

    Is it a higher or lower % than -12%? We should be told.

    If as I suspect they are cutting more, do you then support the torys position in England or do you support the position in Scotland, or are you like a great many people, confused as why the same party who take all their orders from England can face both ways at the same time, and yet try to claim creditability?

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  13. Dark Lochnagar,

    I see that Gray is much higher in your estimation than in mine. At question-time he always reminds me of Eddie the Eagle, a no-hoper who gets routinely thrashed but still stands up every week on a slippery slope wearing tackety boots. Get a grip, Iain.

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  14. Dean,

    I agree with you once again. Auntie Bella is lovely, knickers or not.

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  15. Dean

    Do you agree with Lard Young that "we have never had it so good"

    Do you think the English university students who will have to find £9 Grand per year would agree with him?

    Do you think all torys are so out of touch with reality?

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  16. Nah, that's not Rod Conan. You can always tell him by his wrinkles!

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  17. It's difficult for all the unionist party supporters to decide whether they support the UK or Scotland versions of their parties' philosophy.

    It's high time they all broke away completely, which, to be fair to the Tories tehy are considering doing.

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  18. Ah yes... Did anyone ever find the famous tartan knickers that aroused the interest of Phil the Frustrated?

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  19. Ah Dubbie. The lovely David Young.

    What a prat. He gave the game away in an unguarded moment. The people at the top of government are clearly so out of touch with reality that they think that we’ve never had it so good.

    OK, I know that there are some people who have never had it so good with low mortgage rates. There were some people during the Blair years who had never had it so good, but of course the people who have really never had it so good are the millionaires who have seen the poor and the reasonably off take the hammering for the recession leaving the rich virtually untouched with their trust funds and their British Virgin island tax arrangements. Different for the poor pensioner who has £10,000 saved up and was hoping that the interest would pay for the winter coat or the odd treat, instead of which he loses part of his housing benefit. No one in the BVI is interested in £10,000!

    I suppose Mr Young, having a senior moment, and forgetting that he wasn’t in his club, or on the red benches, just blurted it out. ...and he hasn’t been sacked!!!

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  20. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/maryriddell/100064350/lord-youngs-heresy-reveals-an-inconvenient-truth/

    Dubbie...This is Mary Riddell's piece in the Telegraph. It's very short but I think it encapsulates the truth, rather more professionally than I just did.

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  21. Tris

    Thanks for the link. This must be the first time that I have agreed with an article in The Telegraph.

    "We are all in this together" just so much tory crap.

    Always were and always will be out of touch with reality. Mind you everyone in Scotland who voted for a unionist party at the last election agreed with the premise that they wanted to be ruled by Westminster. So you voted for Westminster, you got tory toffs, get on with it.

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  22. Yes Dubs, but we knew that, didn't we?

    They won't be in it with us till it all goes pear shaped in all of the tax havens all together!!

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  23. Dubbieside,

    I am not obliged to support every element of my governments decisions am I?

    I oppose their choices vis-a-vis higher education cuts in so far as they have failed to abolish tuition fees. Post graduate contribution seems much more fair to me, yet no one, especially not the SNP, have any inclination to move in that direction.

    But the idea that students should contribute, made by the Browne Report, is correct.

    Additionally, feel free to ask me what I think of govt policy anytime - I always try and give straight answers! But last time I checked, we were talking about SNP priorities - and you will notice I am personally consistant.

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  24. Dear Dean

    I'm glad that you are supporting nearly every element of YOUR Government's decision because no body else is.

    LOLove

    The Panda

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  25. Bugger: I've always respected Dean for standing his ground against what is undoubtedly a hostile audience in Scotland.

    We may not agree with the guy, but you have to respect his loyalty.

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