Thursday 17 June 2010


I read in the Sunday Post this week (yes, I know it’s Thursday, but I’m a slow reader) that the estimated cost of security during the Pope’s visit to Scotland this autumn will be around £70 million.

Now that’s a lot of money in any language (especially if the wee man’s only coming here to give Sophia Pangloss her red hat back).

As this is a State Visit and the Pope is here by invitation of Her Majesty’s government (ie wee Spud) as Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, we have to pick this bill up.

The security money, it seems, will come out of the Scottish government’s budget, despite the Scottish government having played no part in the invitation. And according to the article in the Post, the Scottish government says that it can’t afford it.

Now to be fair the Scottish government can easily afford £70 million pounds; it’s a lot, but in governmental terms it’s next to nothing, but at a time when pensioners are finding that their services have been cut, libraries are closing down, children’s services are being reduced etc, I think that Holyrood is quite right to say it can’t afford the money for a one day visit by a foreign head of state.

I’m not denying that this head of state may be important to a proportion of the Scottish population, and for those who feel that way his visit will be a huge event in their lives. The fact that I can’t see why, after all faith in God, is faith in God, not in a man in a long white garb, is of little relevance.

I’m also wondering who’s making the vast profit out of it. Who provides this security? As popular as the Pope will be with some people, he will be equally unpopular with others, I accept, particularly given his personal involvement in the scandals that have surrou
nded the Church, but £70 million... for one day?

The British Government invited the man on behalf of the British Queen. They should pay. And, as the Post suggests, it wouldn’t hurt if the obscenely wealthy Vatican City State were to put its hands in its pockets.

Alternatively Sophia could just nip over to Vatican on one of these cheap flights and get her hat back herself.

Pics: Sophia's hat (modeled by an elderly citizen of a small Mediterranean country), and an example of some of the Vatican's wealth that it might conside selling to pay for the Pope's security (in fact Michelangelo's Pietà which is in St Peter's Basillica, Vatican)


  1. For some reason I keep expecting to see "kiss me quick" on that hat. It really does look that cheap.

  2. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh QM

    That's Sophia's favourite hat.

  3. Of course we have to consider that the holy father seems to have something of a fetish for unusual headgear.

    But really, a red cowboy hat is going too far.

  4. I both agree and disagree, if that isn't too strange ;)

    I agree that £70m is too much for a single day visit, however I would make the point that if a head of state visits Scotland, it ought to be the responsibility of the Scottish 'government' to at least shoulder some of the financial burden.

    Or are you nationalists happy to have Britain step in over the Scottish governments head?

    p.s My God the French were desperate tonight! Uruguay and Mexico going through it appears...

  5. If the Scottish Government had invited the Pope then they should pay for his visit but he was invited by the Queen, the UK Head of State.

    Under devolution international relations are a reserved power

    Scotland Act 1998
    Reserved matters
    Part I
    General reservations

    7(1)International relations, including relations with territories outside the United Kingdom, the European Communities (and their institutions) and other international organisations, regulation of international trade, and international development assistance and co-operation are reserved matters.

    So the UK has invited the Pope, told the Scottish Government they're going to pay for the Scottish part of his visit and not upped the Scottish Block Grant to pay for it.

    The Scottish Government should refuse to pay for any part of a UK state visit when they are banned from conducting international relations which have been reserved to Westminster and where the visit and itinerary have been arranged by Westminster and the Palace without reference to the Scottish budget.

  6. Well actually Dean... for my part I agree and disagree with you... if that's not too strange.

    I do think that if the Scottish government issues an invitation to a foreign head of state to come to Scotland it should bear the entire cost of the State visit, and I don't think that that cost should be £70m per day. I mean who are they getting in for the job, the entire Red Army?

    However, the Scottish governmnet was not consulted about this invitation. Gordon I hate the SNP Brown made sure that it was a BRITISH LABOUR achievement to get the Pope to come to the UK, and Murphy positively bristled with self importance when he was sent off to meet with the Vatican Officials to arrange it. No one asked the Scottish Government.

    As SoS Murphy's spending seemed to come out of the Scottish government's budget, and there's not much anyone can do about it. Of course initially that didn't matter as the Scottish FM was simply an extention of Tony Blair's left foot, but that changed in 2007.

    Let's hope the Liberal blokey has a little more manners than Spud. That's not much to ask.

    I guess no one knows what happened to Les Bleus ce soir. France is my second country after Scotland and I was supporting them pour gagner le coup... Huh... no Scotland and soon no France peut-être!....

    Oh well, North Korea it is then..... :¬)

  7. Danny, I think the old lad should really be going to the States. Clearly he wants to ride the range.....

    It's a bit weird, particularly as we know the hats isn't his!!

  8. Doug....

    I should read these things in order... I could have saved myself a lot of time.

    Thanks for that research... Knowledgeable as ever....

  9. Ah'm black-affrontit! A cheap cowboy hat? That hat cost me guid Embassy coupons ah'll have ye know. Weeks o' smokin.

    Ah'm no gaun tae fetch it, he can bring it tae me. Ah've got a bag an' gloves that are nae use tae me till ah get ma hat back. An' afore he gets ideas, naw, he's no gettin ma bag an' gloves.

  10. Well that's it lads... £70 million for the security to get Sophia's hat back... well, we can't have that hat and gloves going to waste, can we?

    Best grin and bare it, huh.... what's an old folks home or two anyways?

  11. Or should that be 'bear'.... I really never know.

    English is such a puzzle to me....

    Nah, it's probably bare....

  12. Dear me, tris, that's a rather unflattering photo of Sophia you've posted there - I much prefer the one on her blog. Like the hat, though!

  13. Brownlie: You should see her once the slap goes on. A little titivation works wonders... And a few glasses of sherry and she’s a’ the road... as this story attests to...

  14. Tris,

    Consulation is a good point, I never considered that myself. A good argument there; it may well follow that if the SNP executive had been consulted, then perhaps then they may have been liable for joint sharing of the vist costings.

    Fair enough, but tell me; anyone; does the Calman devolutionary package going to impact on any of this? All I actually know about it is we're going to get more financial accountability in Holyrood [and a good step towards full fiscal autonomy!]

  15. p.s, Mon the England, no ABE from me! [Anyone But England]...especially with my money on them!!


  16. When I was six, for Christmas I got a wee hat like that. In the packaging with it was a fringed waistcoat, chaps, sheriff's badge and a capgun and gunbelt.
    I was so chuffed with it I wore it to mass on Sunday, but I had to take the hat off.

    So that's the bastard who stole it...

  17. Dean: I'm not anti English, but I guess I'd like a wee country to win. Not Argentina or Brazil or France or USA... just some little country that's never won before that will profit from it in some way.

    I doubt if the Calman findings would make any impact on the matter of us having expenses thrown on us without consultation. As Doug said the Scotland Act dictates that all relations with other states has to be done by London, and Calman certainly didn't alter that. So Brown and his little cherub Spud landed Scotland with this bill (as part of the Scotlad dOffice expenses I guess).

    If we'd have been asked I'm pretty suire that the FM would ahve said yes, as long as the costs are covered.

    It seems wrong to close a Library for ever and put people out of work, and then spend £70 million on a one day visit from a head of state.

    If Spud had had a brain cell he would have suggested to the Scottish Cardinal that he invite the Pope on a pastoral visit.

    That way the Vatican would have paid for everything.

    Incidentally, we were lumbered with a massive bill for security when Blair invited the G8 to meet in Scotland. Even Joke McConnell protested about getting the money back, but Blair said NO.

    Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg may be more generous.

  18. Conan...

    You're not supposed to go to mass looking like a cowboy.... It's them that are the cowbloys...

    Mind for one measley old moth eaten hat, there seems to be an awful lot of claiments....

  19. Tris, I wasn't accusing you of being ABE at all mate :)

    Yet I do accept that had SNP executive been consulted, and approved of the state visit part to Scotland - then we could expect a burden sharing deal. But then this kind of disrespect to the devolutionary settlement is what you expect from Labour eh?

  20. Yes Dean. They had been used to having a Labour executive in Edinburgh doing what they were told with one of two consessions to the Liberals (which incidentally we now cannot afford, if we ever could).

    It came as a terrible shock when Brown had to deal with people he probably considers to be traitors. But we know that Brown just has no time for anyone who disagrees with him in any way shape or form.

    So he showered hate, poison and disrespect on the elected government of Scotland, and thus on its people.

    And among otehr things we are left with this bill.

    Thanks Brown, you tosser.