Thursday, 17 March 2011


The BBC managed, once again, to talk through the Presiding Officer's introduction of an honoured guest, so we don’t know who he was. I hope he enjoyed the ensuing half hour more than I did.

Alex announced that during the afternoon he would be meeting with the MD of the company responsible for the new tidal power project off the coast Islay, the biggest project of its kind in Europe. Gray snidely put it down, of course, and then asked a series of badly researched questions about unemployment. Really this man would make the most incredibly stupid First minister. He had no understanding of the figures, and Salmond wiped the floor with him. And, while we’re on Gray, what is it with the hand gestures. A more charitable mind than mine might find a word to go with that!

And so without wasting any more time on this fool, on to Annabel...

She highlighted a case of sexual assault which was not only horrific in itself but made all the more so because two children had been made to observe and participate. She was concerned about the fact that the guilty would be released, possibly after 3 year, but certainly after 4 years because of the early release scheme. She wanted to know why the FM had gone back on his commitment to end early releases, a fair question. I don’t mind early releases (a policy introduced to Scotland by a Conservative government); there are some good reasons for this policy. But we must start off with proper sentences. These people were sentenced to 6 years. Why not much more? Disappointing answers for the FM who returned once more to the fact that the streets are safer in Scotland because of the 1000 extra police?

And so to Tav... no, wait Mike Rumbles. Goodness, where’s the big man?

Well old Mike was so excited about getting to be standy–in Liberal leader for the afternoon that he forgot to ask the obligatory first question... but never mind, Eck, not being particularly excited, answered it for him anyway. Mike was incensed that Ballater Business Association had been snubbed by the FM when they asked him to come and talk to them about Business Rate rises. Alex replied that he had asked the Enterprise Minister, Jim Mather, to see them on his behalf (there’s only so much First Minister ...well, OK, quite a lot... and many calls on his time). Mr Rumbles said that he had been at the meeting with the association and Mr Mather and that it had been a disaster. Mr Mather had done nothing to help. Of course Alex thought that was strange, as Mr Mather had received a letter from the association thanking him for his constructive input. Message to Tavish: Hurry Back. Message to Mike Rumbles: Don’t give up the day job.

There were members’ questions on Blindcraft (Edinburgh), funding thereof; Child trafficking, laws pertaining to; End year flexibility, double dealing from Danny Alexander and Nick Clegg, with reference to; Scottish Fuel Poverty, and the excellent work that they have been doing.

Then, unfortunately old Tubby had to have his say, and that was that for another week... indeed for parliament. Next Tuesday the rotund one will be back with what, if I remember rightly, he called 'a little extra' before the Chamber is suspended until after the election.

One wee plea to Iain Gray. Please, please, could you move the members who sit directly behind you. It’s bad enough having to listen to your whiney voice and daft questions, without having to look at two of the most unappealing nodding dogs it has ever been my misfortune to clap eyes upon. Thank you kindly.
Pics: Eck the boss, Annabel the scary dragon and Mike Rumbles,, hmmmm, the... suggestions on a post card to Munguin's Republic.


  1. Mike Rumbles did not have to ask an obligatory question because he was, technically, granted two supplementaries to Annabel's because he had not submitted a question in his own right.

  2. Well thank you for puting me right on that Anon...

    Wasn't he supposed to submit a question in his own right?

  3. Mike Rumbles looks like Ronnie Barker only the bumble needs locked up to protect citizens from his uselessness.

  4. I don't know why they bother asking those pointless first questions. God knows they waste enough time with all their wind bagging without the need for the extra bit. Might allow time for more questions from the back benches or more time for old blimpo to give us his tuppence worth!

    Pathetic from FM in waiting Iain Gray as per usual, can't wait to see how bad he will be when he has to answer the questions.

  5. Damn yeah CH... that's who he looks like. But Ronnie was funny Ha ha, not funny weird.

  6. The questions are a waste of time. Maybe someone does know why they do them.... Anyone?

    Let's hope the gray man never gets anywhere near that chair, but, if he does, I have to admit it will be a comedy watching him fend off AS.

    Unfortunately the country will go to hell. God only knows what the fools will privatize, and how much of a ride they will be taken for while they are doing it.

    Sell off Scottish Water, and build GARL... well the money will have to come from somewhere. It's as good as promised.

  7. The questions have to be submitted well in advance, so they put in those generic ones to give themselves more time to use their supplementary questions to ask the questions they really anted...

  8. Thanks Grogipher...

    So they don't actually have to tell the FM what the supplementaries will be? They give him warning that they will ask what his engagements are for today, then they ask him about unemployment?

    So the supplementary questions don't have to relate to the main question?

  9. These generic first questions are a pointless waste of time. We need to decide if Questions to the First Minister are an opportunity to ask the FM relevant sensible questions about the issues current in Scotland that week. Or is it a party political tit-for-tat and an opportunity for bombast and bluster more appropriate to a beer garden than a legislature! What exactly is wrong with the FM being informed of the general thrust of questions in advance? The standing orders need to be re-drawn to make this ko-ko the clown spectacle a thing of the past.

  10. Completely agree Munguin. It's time that the half hour on Wednesdays stopped trying to ape England's disgraceful display of animal behaviour. FMQs has become a match of strength between the leaders, but of course that's not really what it’s about. Perhaps we need stricter Presiding Officer for the next parliament. One who will not only request better behaviour, but demand it.

    Interestingly, if the parties take turns at providing the PO, the next one should come from the Labour party. There has been a Liberal, an SNP and a Tory so far.

  11. Some times these seemingly pointless automatic questions give the FM an oppotunity to insert some interesting announcements that the inevitable drone and whine of many MSP's useless 'questions' deliberately fail to ellict as an avoidance tactic. I recall the FM referring to certain Scottish success stories he has passed on to Holyrood via the SoS or PM meetings that the Labour party in particular would rather not hear?

  12. Sorry to have missed this as I'm a big fan of "Belly" Rumbles.

    PS: Good to be back!

  13. Clarinda. Hello, and welcome to the republic.

    Yes, I can see that especially after the pointless one's pointless question he can often say that he is going to, or has just, done something of interest to and to the advantage of Scotland. Yesterday was one such occasion, which needless to say Mr Strange Hand Motion managed to belittle, which was odd because, of course, it heralded the creation of new jobs, which was the subject of yesterday's whingathon.

    I suppose it does have its function.

    But I’d like to see a much more constructive FMQ with a lot less politicking and a lot more questions from members, not from the party leaders looking for cheap party political broadcasts. That of course goes for all the parties!!


  14. Welcome home indeed Mr Brownlie. You and your comments have been missed, but I notice you have reverted to your old name... Were too many people taking advantage of the first name terms, or have you just screwed up your profile page?

    I'm sure I heard somewhere that (to use first name terms again) "Belly" was pretty much a fan of yours too.

    Maybe he's Googled his name and found himself highlighted here and will bless you with a signed pic... Not likely though.

    I'm sure you will enjoy it if you look at the link I thoughtfully provided for just that purpose!!

    Glad to have you back....

    It's about time we popped round to Ms Pangloss's place with a kerry oot, doncha think?

  15. Tris,

    Tweeted Sophia a few times before I left and hopefully she'll be back soon.

    I've just finished looking at FMQ and cannot believe that the numpty nodding-dogs on the Labour benches were banging their desks and cheering when Gray announced his Scottish un-employment figures. Some-one must have told Gray to use his arms more but they forgot to tell him that they should co-ordinate with his speech instead of flapping them about like a frustrated seal.

    Yeah, I don't like people using my first name as it's a bit common. I'm thinking of inventing a double-barrelled name but all I've come up with so far is Purdy (geddit?)?

    Yes, it's good to be back but I'm away again in a couple of weeks and if I'm not back in time I'll have to use a dozen or so of my postal votes.

  16. It was a shocking display of politicking JB.
    They want unemployment to be worse in Scotland because it makes things look bad for the SNP. Who gives a damn about the misery caused by each and every one of these statistics? Certainly not the Labour party in Scotland. But Iain Gray isn’t half the politician Alex Salmond is. (Yep, he may be a bit smug at times, but he’s got a lot to be proud of.) And he hasn’t half the capacity for getting out of the confusion of statistics, which can be made to show anything you want them to show. He was lost when Alex started battering him with figures for employment and unemployment, for building jobs and for contracts, including PFI. He didn’t really think he could fool Eck the economist with the PFI statistics, did he?

    I don’t know about the hand gestures. I didn’t notice them until a few weeks ago, but I was immediately reminded of the gestures we made at school when we thought a teacher was a wa... well you know.

    Purdy? Ah yeah, you are going to call yourself John Joanna-Lumley-Brownlie, right? Well we wouldn’t want to be common so what do you wnat us to call you here? Mr Brownlie, Sir, M’lord?

    Good news about Ms P. I worry about the poor dear. I’m sure she shouldn’t be doing stairs at her age, but I suppose Mr Pangloss needs his backie money, and red stellies and matching bags don’t come cheap either. But scrubbing stairs on these cold March mornings can’t be good for her. I’ll need to see if I can’t get her a wee indoor job. Let’s see, indoors in Edinburgh? Have to be in the parliament, don’t you think? What could she do? PA to Eck? I’ll put a word in. He’s coming up to Dundee next week!

    Well, enjoy the next few weeks in the best wee country in the world (after the Vatican of course), and defo get all these postal votes in. We’ll need them if the opposition is playing its usual game of multi-vote...

  17. Correct, was Salmond not Rumbles in the wrong, and the Official Report has airbrushed Eck's error from history!

  18. In what way Anon?