Thursday 16 December 2010


It was pantomime time at Holyrood today, with wee Elmer doing funny voices and swaying around like my great Auntie Nellie after a few sherries too many on Hogmanay. However, not even the festive atmosphere in Edinburgh could save the wee fellow from acting like the tea cake he is.

Education was his theme (nice change from the snow Elmer, I feared you were going to get stuck on that one forever). He produced some figures that, he said, showed the SNP cutting 800 teaching posts this year, which gave Big Eck the chance to point out that the bulk of the posts being cut were in Glasgow’s LABOUR RUN council, possibly because LABOUR RUN Glasgow had failed to sign up to the concordat between the government and local councils.

Elmer , who had looked quite confident to begin with, started to look a tad cross and began swaying as Alex took everything he accused the government of and threw it back in his face. The final question involved the number of schools built and was “another broken SNP promise” according to Elmer. True, said the boss, but this time it was one Eck was happy to confirm. Labour had promised 250 new schools, he said, and the SNP government had broken its promise; it had delivered 330. Maybe a few sherries diminished Mr Fudd’s arithmetical abilities.

And so to Annabel, who chose, presumably for want of anything else to criticise the government about, to ask about university funding. Given that Mike Russell was due to launch a Green Paper (consultative document) on the subject that very afternoon, I thought it was completely bizarre.

The discourse between the FM and Ms G followed that of an exchange 3 weeks ago, so I won’t bother repeating it here. Suffice to say that it was rather a waste of a question.

And so to wee Tavish, who asked a sensible question about the fact that vast numbers of Scots are either worried about their energy bills (4 out of 10 households), or struggling to pay them (3 out of 10). He wanted to know what the government’s intentions were concerning Home Insulation Schemes. Alex told him that the relevant minister had just explained that there would be proportionally larger increases here than there would be south of the border. Tavish then asked about the huge increases in profits per household the energy companies had reported, and the doubling of costs over the last 5 years.

Alex was able to point out that some of the factors that were involved in this were controlled from London, and in fact by Liberal Democrat minsters. Alex softened that remark, noting that Tavish’s points were well made, but he wished he had the power to insure that everyone in this energy rich country could access the energy they needed.

Unspectacular performances today, I thought, and top marks go to Tavish for asking the most sensible question.

I can’t help feeling that Alex refers too much to what’s happening in England and comparing it with what is happening here. OK, I accept that what happens in England has a knock on effect by way of Barnet, but I get a little bored hearing it and it does tend to sound feeble, even if, in fact, it is not.

Backbench questions were sensible across the chamber and dealt with subjects as diverse as Sex Offenders, Homicide Rates, Fatal Accident Inquiries and Company Closures. There was one criticism of the Labour party for misrepresenting Fife Constabulary on their website and refusing to take the misinformation down, even when asked to by the police themselves. Tch tch.

Pics: The lovely Annabel (top centre) falls into the Hattie Jacques role perfectly; I though Elmer for the Kenneth Conner role and of course Tavish is Jim Dale... I’m not sure who should get Babs Windsor’s part (or parts) Johann Lamont? Eck (left) of course vanquishes all foes and slays dragons (that’s Lamont again) and finally (right) is Tavish, standing right next to a guy who sold his soul for a red box... a pantomime villain if even I saw one.


  1. I do not think it was a waste of a question. Tris, Goldie was asking about the principle of graduate [NOT student] contribution - as Salmond [correctly in m book] rejects tuition fees, it is prudent to estabish if he believes gradutes should make a contribution.

    This question will not be addressed in the Green paper, because no one, not even the SNP, know the answer yet to the question; should graduate students contribute to the cost of their undergrad leg-up? :P

  2. but hey, that is what happens when Scotland is dominated by two socialistic parties desperate for some chance to be more populist than each other. I speak of course of zanulabour and the seperatists

  3. Rather than the rape and pillage of the ConDems eh Dean!

  4. They had that conversation a few weeks ago Dean, besides which, she must have known that Alex wan't going to discuss what might be coming up this afternoon, or give his personal opinion on something that Mike hadn't even announced.

    It just seemed that it was a waste to me.

    That last comment didn't really make much sense when, as you know,Labour is more right wing than you are...

  5. Nice little increase in Electricity prices they are planning for us Cynical. Still, it's handy to know what your going to do with all that spare cash that is lying around. Pay it to Private Electricity companies so that their fat cat directors can pay themselves obscene bonuses.

    It's nice to be able to contribute, some people won't be able to, so I dunno what they will do. Freeze?

    Life's a bitch and then you die (of the cold probably).

  6. Dean, have you been wearing your Homburg?

  7. tris,

    Could it be that the references to what is happening in England would be in order to emphasise the difference between the views stated by the North British branches of the unionist parties to the actual policies of the UK unionist parties.

    One glaring example was Gray's "if I were First Minister - fat chance - I would not have freed Megrahi" which was certainly at odds with that of his bosses in London.

  8. I think we should club togetehr Conan, and get Dean a "Lum Hat"

  9. Yes John. I guess that it is that. I realise that by mentioning England again and again the FM does emphasise that it is different here, and invariably better.

    I think we should all take our hats off to Mr Swinney. That man is magic with money. He seems to be able to find enough money to treat people decently for what, for an oil rich UK a tiny pittance. No wonder the English are angry and jealous.

    The folk in Norway must look in wonder and thank heavens for the Norwegian government and its total independence... from Sweden, from the EU and from America.

    The joy of that independence is clearly that if you have a good government you flourish... Of course in fairness, since you mention Iain Gray and "First Minister" in the same sentence, if you get a bad government, what the hell do you do?

  10. "...Labour had promised 250 new schools, he said, and the SNP government had broken its promise; it had delivered 330. Maybe a few sherries diminished Mr Fudd’s arithmetical abilities...."

    Actually Ian Gray was right and Alex Salmond was lying.

    I can give you the facts if you want, but the main one is that there have been NO schools built with Holyrood finanace since 2007. The 330 that Salmond claims are schools that were in train before the SNP came to power and/or they were financed by councils without the help of the Scottish Executive.

  11. tris,

    Get your point about a "bad government".

    I would suggest that, post independence, the government will have to be more aware of the needs of voters, be more accountable to the voters, be less willing to poke their nose, or their arms, into other country's affair, or waste money on weapons and military equipment that will never be used. There would be no need to waste money or lives in aspiring to be a force on the world stage.

    Most importantly, they would be governing for the benefit of Scotland rather than being governed from a distance, as an unimportant after-thought, akin to a needy relative visited or receiving a get-well card, with a few bob in it, once a year.

  12. I am confused Braveheart, where do Councils get there capital funds from?

    Also on your last statement about NO schools being built since 2007, there must be a mirage 600m from my house as new school is being built.

    That was started last year, it was required because the previous feckless labour cooncil sold off the public land in the Dunfermline DEX.

    This became apparent after the new cooncil came to power in May 2007. Too many bairns and not enough school places in Dunfermline DEX and as the previous mob sold off the land as part of it's PPP deals.

    I thank you!

  13. Braveheart: Don't councils get all but about 20% of their money from the government? Shouldn't it be their business to build schools? Did Labour come along and build schools for councils, or was it just that they arranged the private finance for them, along with the idiotic agreements where the school belongs to the private company and the poor old community rents it back, but pays for repairs.... and yet has limitations as to how they can use it, and all for only about 20 times what it would have cost if we’d just bought it in the first place?

  14. More info about the problems in DEX

  15. John: That sounds like a plan for governance. I have never understood why a country so badly run sees a necessity to run other countries (badly).

    President Brownlie.

  16. Anon: Exactly!

    And I thank you.


  17. Anon, I didn't say no schools had been built, I said "there have been NO schools built with Holyrood finanace since 2007."

    There is a difference.

    I also said "The 330 that Salmond claims are schools that were in train before the SNP came to power and/or they were financed by councils without the help of the Scottish Executive".

    This is true, and when Salmond claims that the SNP Administration has "built" 330 school since 2007, he is lying. In fact he usually says "completed 3330 new schools". Which isn't strictly a lie. But the SNP Administration had nothing to do with their building and can claim no credit for it.

    BTW, on Thursday he appeared to say the the SNP had "built 330 schools", i.e. he lied.

  18. Braveheart makes an important point here.

    And as for my hats Conan, I have been getting the Homburg on! That and a nice Cuban cigar makes me feel very patriotic :)

  19. Did Annabelle not supply you with some Peroni Dean made by that nice SAB Miller who has some tax avoidance questions to be answered.

  20. I see that new transport minister Keith Brown’s six point plan to keep Scotland moving didn’t work in the North East. No doubt Elmer Fudd will be calling for Keith to resign when he gets up at the next FMQs. Poor Keith only a week into the job and he couldn’t prevent the snow any more than Stewart Stevenson could. Maybe Alex should appoint Elmer as the next transport minister and see is he has a better hot line to God than the SNP. And then next FMQ he could stand up and demand his own resignation.

    It seems the plan worked fine in the central belt but Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire were both at a standstill. Unionist politicians are claiming the SNP don’t give the north east the same priority as they do the central belt. Is that the same north east that the unionist like to claim is the home of the SNP mafia? Even more ludicrous considering Alex’s constituency is in the North East.

  21. If Iain Gray and Labour give the north-east as much priority as they give the central belt and Glasgow will Iain be getting up at FMQs next week and raising this point with as much vim and verve (i.e. as much as any dead sheep could) as he did last time?

    North East Tory list MSP Alex Johnstone wondered how an inexperienced minister could be expected to cope when his “very able” predecessor Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson was not able to cope! So the Tories appear to be calling for Stewart to return. Didn’t thay add their tuppence worth to the baying mob that called for him to resign? Mixed messages? Or is Mr Johnstone just the usual Tory balloon?

  22. That's a beauty Cynical. I wonder which charity the beer is going to? Hopefully an old persons' charity.

    They could have saved their money though. It was a Nationalist proposal and as such was bound, no matter how sensible, to get the approval of the Unionist parties. Don’t the Tories in England favour a broadly similar policy?

    While we faff around with this matter more and more misery is caused by drink problems. Get on with it parliamentarians. Do something.

  23. A picture to behold Dean!

  24. He should go immediately and make way for Elmer the Snowman, Munguin.

    And yes, I agree with you. It sort of proves that the opposition hasn't looked past the first line in their job descriptions, certainly not as far as the words, 'thoughtful', 'constructive', or the phrase 'in the best interests of the country'.

    I'm wondering, given the fact that much of England ground to a halt last night and London's airports were closed, if people will be suggesting that the English Transport Minister spend more time with his fortune... sorry, I meant family. To spend more time with his fortune he's have to be off to the British Virgin Islands. Silly old me.

  25. The difference in Scotland with regard to the snow, or the drink, or anything else the Scottish government deals with is the fact that the Scottish government is a Scottish party and the three opposition parties are English-funded and run parties.

    So not one bit of their opposition is about what is good for Scotland or the people of Scotland. Scotland is swimming in gas, electricity and oil so our prices should be cheap so it's numpties like Tavish that are keeping our people in fuel poverty in exchange for their party funding from England.

    The unionist parties are the modern parcel of rogues - selling their country for English gold.

  26. Tris,

    He could not fly to the British Virgin Islands because Heathrow and Gatwick are closed. Obviously due to an incompetent Transport Minister who should apologise for not being omnipotent and resign.

    Incidentally, is your last wee line an admission or a confession?

    Even more incidentally, the offer oor Bella is making in the cartoon is directed at the wrong Brownlie but we still speak to him.


    Auntie Bella sez "You can keep your hat on" but make sure your cigar is not lit.

  27. Yeah Billy. ‘Rogues’ has rather too warm and harmless a connotation for my liking. Most of their objecting is done on the basis of discrediting what I’m sure some of them think of as an illegitimate government of traitors...

    Oh well, what can you do?

    Well one of the things we need to hammer home to the public is just how much John Swinney has managed to do with so little. Over and over you hear about how angry the English are that we get this and we get that and THEY are paying for it.

    Leaving aside THAT stupid nonsense for what it is it, how John finds the money for the extras that we have is just plain miraculous.

  28. Yes John. I was looking at the chaos in England. I'm sure it was Tavish who was exorcised about our capital’s airports being closed and wee thingummy about the motorways being closed when it happened here.

    So will their English counterparts be screaming for Hammond’s scalp now that London’s airports are closed, chaos is an understatement to describe their roads and even the motorways are empty?

    And this snow has been forecast for a week. Hammond seemed to not have heard ANY weather forecasts never mind the wrong ones.

    I was thinking maybe he should be expected to swim to the BVI....?

    Silly old me? Admission, I think.

  29. Nah confession

    Nah admission

    What the hell's the difference...?

  30. Listening to 5Live and am sure its more fun than the x factor(whatever that is).

  31. Tris, FMQs are becoming a joke. Gray is obviously not up to the job, Tavish is a twat and Goldie, matronly as she is, is the only one that makes any relevant points.

  32. DL said..

    " and Goldie, matronly as she is, is the only one that makes any relevant points. "

    Bet you would pump her aswell ;)

    Too many lies for cast iron to survive really. Promises to reform the human rights act, stop increasing EU payments, give us an EU referendum, stop the rot in the armed forces, etc ..

  33. Summed up perfectly DL.

    Really Fudd and Plant Brain have always been substandard, but one of the reasons both of them took a beating was that they were always trying to score personal points. Nothing about Scotland, all about THEM. You can tell how Alex whole demeanour changes as he addresses the other two and of course the members.

    Tavish and his predecessor have mainly been irrelevant; occasionally making valid points. Annabel has usually made reasonable points except when taking her orders for idiots in England who don’t know what they are talking about. That has led to a couple of faux pas on her part. But she has been Alex’s opposition.

    Yes she might be matronly, but it’s not a beauty contest and I’d rather have efficiency than beauty any day when it comes to running the country....

  34. Yes Mr Mcmad. A tad on the course side, don't you think?

    The English Tories seem to have broken most of their promises. They have of course kept to their plans to make the poor poorer and the rich richer. I see that The Pickled Onion bloke has made swinging cuts on poorer council areas, and very small cuts on richer areas. For all the health budget has been maintained, they are now reporting patients being turned away. Now while I’m all for fertility treatment being cancelled (it’s not exactly important compared with cancer and heaven knows there are kids enough that could do with a good home), I’m not so happy to hear that patients with severe pain are being refused injections that can help. He seems happy to make deals rather than carry out his pledges... and as for the Liberals... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    I’d be surprised if this incompetent lot make it 5 years...

  35. tris,

    Of course you meant coarse unless you stick "inter" in front of it. Tsk! tsk! Niko the lion will be sacking you next!

    Had a twitter message from Sophia - alive and witty as usual. She reckons that instead of sending each other Christmas cards we should all look out our own windows.

  36. Yes I did mean coarse. I'm sorry.

    I guess Munguin will sack me pretty soon but I don't care. I need a new job. I’m fed up with this one. Munguin would be better suited to running a sweat shop in Birmingham.

    I'm glad that Sophia is good though. I was really concerned that she was sick...

    I will look out my window and think of her scrubbing stairs back in the day... that‘s a cheery thought :)

    Please send her my best...

    Hope there are no mistakes in this!!