Friday 2 April 2010


I’ve always wondered why it is that people need to fly all over the world to talk about man-made climate change, and whether or not you believe in it, people are doing that all the time.

It doesn’t particularly interest me normally, but this time it is the Scottish parliament which is sending 4 MSPs and 2 officials to America, in fact to Boston, New York and Washington DC to “highlight” the dangers of climate change, whatever that means. This is a non party thing. The presiding officer is going, along with members from the SNP, the Labour Party and the Tories. Whether the Liberals didn’t want to go, or just weren’t asked remains to be answered.

The total cost of this exercise, supposedly connected with tartan week in the USA, is thought to be in the region of £30,000, given that the MSPs, officials are travelling club class.

According to the
Scotsman they ‘will focus on the three key areas of climate change, sustainable transport and opportunities around the green economy’. What expertise in these matters any of the visitors had is also not known.

MSP Robin Harper (Greens) said: "For this cross-party Holyrood delegation to be jetting off on a jolly to multiple US cities in order to fact-f
ind on issues relating to sustainability and the environment is ever so slightly ridiculous and largely unnecessary.” He also pointed out, not unreasonably, that if sustainability was the name of the game then the USA was perhaps not the best place to go to learn more.

I agree. We already have three ministers going to America for Tartan week, that’s fair enough. We need to make a good impression there. Trade and tourism depends upon it. But there is no need to have other members of parliament there. The rest of us are belt tightening, and parliament should be too. Easter jollies should be a thing of the past.

Pictures: Transport in Boston and Washington not looking overly sustainable to me.


  1. This is a disgrace Tris but then they're just copying MPs for their 'freebies'. It all could have been done by video conferencing.

  2. Exactly Subrosa. I don't know whose idea it was and I don't much care. It should not have happened!

  3. Spot on Tris....

    Those who extol their theology of man made climate change are constantly traveling the world to “highlight” the impending doom. In the US, we have a slimy ex-politician named Al Gore (the one who allowed George W. Bush to become president) who leaves his lavish Tennessee estate and travels the world to promote his movie about it. This jerk deserved a Nobel Prize even less than President Obama.

    But the actions of your opportunistic politicians highlight the issue of what in the US are called “Congressional junkets”....delegations of Congressmen and Senators who travel the world during Congressional recesses (sometimes with their spouses in tow) and “discuss” and “highlight” and “confer” with officials in various countries, frequently at posh resort locations.) I would point out that your guys showed bad judgment in taking their junket to Boston, New York, and Washington. There are lots better places to holiday in America (unless you're an American history buff).

    The American Congressional junkets are legendary. The big world tours by entire delegations of Congressmen and Senators are generally paid by the taxpayers in one form or another. But some junkets....often “working” meetings at five star resorts in America....are sometimes paid for by big corporations. These are the very corporations that represent the industries overseen by the Congressional attendees.

    The Copenhagen Climate Summit provided a very popular junket destination for Congress. House Speaker Pelosi’s House delegation consisted of about 20 Congressmen. She was close-mouthed about the cost. She gave no interviews and only issued a statement to the effect that the trip “will comply with disclosure requirements.” Ultimately, the official Congressional delegations to Copenhagen required three jets....two Boeing 737’s and a luxurious private Gulfstream Five.

    Foreign Policy magazine reported on several of last year’s junkets. We had Republican leader John Boehner leading a delegation of seven on a round the world trip (with spouses) which traveled from Ireland to Switzerland to China “to discuss issues of mutual interest with government and private sector officials on issues related to global and regional economic performance and energy security.” Another delegation traveled with their wives to Britain, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, and Italy “to investigate the critical security measures in place within these countries.” And yet another delegation traveled to Germany, Italy, and Spain “to meet with State and local officials to discuss port security and aviation maintenance issues.” AVIATION MAINTENANCE???!!!

    Your politicians really do need to think bigger than Boston and New York when robbing the public treasury for their holidays. Maybe they’re actually serious about the purpose of their trip? NAH!

    Ultimately democracy can’t work because it’s runs by these slimy politicians. The only reasonable alternative is an enlightened, just kidding.

  4. Danny.....Clearly the Scots have much to learn, going club class on BA (if they are not on strike)is a bit crummy compared with your guys.

    I thought frankly we had more sense, but clearly I was wrong.

    Aviation Maintenance? Nice one. I guess any excuse is better than none!

    At least ours are travelling without partners. It really annoys me when they feel obliged to take their significant others with them. It's bad enough paying for luxury travel and accommodation for them without their bloody family freeloading too.