Saturday, 31 May 2008

World Cup 1966.

From the Herald Diary, "FIRST Minister Alex Salmond was asked yesterday where he was when England won the World Cup in 1966. "I was on the ferry to Rothesay," he replied. "With plugs in my ears."

Surely not. Mr Smith guesses that question for a Nationalist is a bit like asking everybody else where were you when man landed on the moon?

Friday, 30 May 2008

Ever Greenwood.

So, it would appear that Alex Salmond MSP wasn't the only political figure to be knocking about North Ayrshire last week opening new schools. His colleague Nicola Sturgeon MSP also got in on the act by reopening her own former school, Greenwood Academy.

"A NEW £25million school has been officially opened by a famous former pupil. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon returned to Greenwood Academy in Dreghorn, Ayrshire, to cut the ribbon for pupils and staff. She was a pupil there from 1982-88. The school is now Ayrshire's largest with 1600 pupils and the facilities include all-weather pitches and a Japanese garden."

What a difference a year makes. Mr Smith doesn't think the Ms Sturgeon herself would have envisaged being asked to reopen her former school last year. But what a strange place North Ayrshire is given that they are also going to have former First Minister Jack McConnell MSP back to open the new Arran High School on 9th June. Are the Council collecting signed photos or something?

It's Salmond's Oil.

From the Scotsman.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Cop That.

He's a bad cop that justice caught up with.

"A CORRUPT cop who tipped off a drug dealer about police operations was jailed yesterday. Judge Lord Brailsford sentenced William Hosie, 28, to three years and nine months. The judge said the constable acted out of "misplaced loyalty" to childhood friend Raymond Rudkin, part of a cocaine ring which police were working to smash."

He should have an interesting times behind bars as a former cop.

Annabel's Angel.

Atticus says, "It was for many the highlight of the Scottish Tory Conference in Ayr this weekend: Annabel Goldie straddling Big Robert in the car park. "I can feel the vibration," trilled the Conservative leader as she posed for pictures. Big Robert is a flame-coloured three-wheeler provided by the Clyde Valley Harley-Davidson owner group, which was sharing the venue. Ms Goldie was being given a "backie". Not a sight that will easily be forgotten."

Obscene Atticus ... obscene.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

On the Pat and Mick.

And from Drumlanrig yet again, "Gordon Brown's management style (e-mailing staff at 5am, raging at officials over why certain tasks have not been performed, demanding everyone work as crazily hard as he does) was not enjoyed by civil servants in Whitehall. It appears that Brown's former staff at the Treasury are now happier under his successor Alistair Darling. Figures last week showed the number of working days lost at the Treasury in each of the past 24 months due to "stress-related illness". Under Brown's tenure, the average monthly figure came in at 130 days a month. Under Darling, however, despite the traumas of the credit crunch, Northern Rock and a collapsing housing market, the figure has fallen to 106 days a month. None of those crises, it appears, is half as tough as working for Gordo."

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Get Well Soon.

Now Mr Smith has never been one of her greatest fans, but no-one could condone or excuse the attack on Labour MP Anne Moffat.

"A Scottish MP was treated in hospital over the weekend after being mugged by a gang of young men while out walking in her constituency. Anne Moffat, the Labour MP for East Lothian, suffered broken ribs during the attack on Friday near her home in Cockenzie."

But this is the type of threat which all too many of Ms Moffat's consituents are living with day in day out. Perhaps her experience will act as a spur to doing something more effective to tackle the thugs involved?

Lord of the Ribs.

And from Drumlanrig again, "Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan was told some weeks ago by one of his crofting constituents who kept a pig that she was growing fond of the beast and could not bear to send the animal for slaughter. Steeling herself for the big moment, she decided that giving the pig a name might make it easier to send it to its doom. The name? None other than that of him of the high fuel taxes, Gordon Brown.Unsure of whether she was joking or not, Allan last week called round to check on her views about another round of hefty fuel increases. He was presented with all the evidence he needed – on a plate."

Sad. Mr Smith as a vegetarian cannot condone such callous political behaviour. These SNP-ers a ruthless lot.

Monday, 26 May 2008

That'll Do Nicely.

Mr Smith thinks there is a law about this situation which is demonstrated very effectively by an issue affecting students and reported in today's press.

"Thousands of Scotland's most talented students have been hit with a shock bill for more than £2000 each as a result of a Scottish Government measure, ironically intended to reduce debt. Some 3000 postgraduates from universities across the country have been told to fork out an immediate £2200 to pay a one-off charge called the graduate endowment - which they had previously been told to pay off at the end of their studies. The demand is an unintended consequence of the scrapping of the graduate endowment fee by the SNP-run Scottish Government. Because the scheme is being wound up, all outstanding debts are being collected by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), which administers the endowment on behalf of the government. In the case of postgraduate students, the debt amounts to £6.6m."

Usually the Law of Unintended Consequences kicks in when politicians don't think things through properly. That seems to be what has happened in this case. Scottish Government climbdown anyone?

By St George.

And from Atticus, "Take your ringside seats, please, for today’s least likely political dispute. In the blue and white corner, Alex Salmond. In the red and white corner, let’s hear it for St George and his dragon. The first minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National party has poured scorn on St George, describing England’s patron saint as “mythological”. Or at least, more mythological than St Andrew. “At least our patron saint was real,” says Salmond. “St George is a mythological figure, and if George wasn’t, the dragon certainly was.” Salmond was responding to a newly published book by historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who died in 2003. Called The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History, the book claims many Scottish traditions are based on “myths and falsehoods”. Even the kilt, says Trevor-Roper, was invented by a Lancashire Quaker. St Andrew was one of Christ’s apostles, but the Royal Society of St George says their man was just as real. “He was a serving Roman soldier,” says a spokesman. “His life was well documented at the time.”

It seems that Oor Alex is becoming a bit of an expert on Saints these days what with opening new schools and upsetting the English. But surely even he knows that dragons do indeed exist? He only has to look at his Deputy to realise that.

Sunday, 25 May 2008


Courtesy of Drumlanrig, "Scottish Secretary Des Browne has got the right idea for dealing with Labour's permanent state of crisis. In his full-time job as Defence Secretary, the MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun hopped on a plane to Singapore on Friday as all was collapsing around him, to take part in a conference based at the Shangri-la hotel. At least one of Labour's embattled Cabinet ministers has found an earthly paradise."

That's a nice trip for a man with two jobs. He's obviously building up the Air Miles in expectation of not being around as a Minister after the next General Election.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

The Evangelist.

Mr Smith reads that "First Minister Alex Salmond joined His Eminence Cardinal Keith O'Brien to officially open St Matthew's Academy in North Ayrshire, completing the full set of schools in North Ayrshire named after the four evangelists - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ... The First Minister said: "It was Matthew who recorded the instruction to teach, and that's why I think it's fitting that he lends his name to the first Catholic secondary school in North Ayrshire - completing the set of saint's schools. I hope St Matthew's Academy will teach generations of young Scots and help them to achieve their potential."

Mr Smith never knew that Alex Salmond was such a religious scholar, but he notes that the FM appears to have gotten it wrong. St Matthew's isn't North Ayrshire's "first" Catholic Secondary, it may the only one, but as it says elsewhere in the PR it was preceded by St Michael's Academy in Kilwinning which has now been demolished and who's most famous alumni is none other than Defence Secretary Des Browne MP. Mr Smith wonders what Des thinks of the whole thing?

Friday, 23 May 2008

On the Pill.

"A PERTHSHIRE politician who suggested bounties should be paid for killing grey squirrels has now called for research to be carried out into stopping the non-native animals breeding. Murdo Fraser MSP has long campaigned for the removal of grey squirrels because of the threat they carry to their native red cousins, competing for habitats and food and carrying a disease harmless to them but fatal to reds. He has now lodged a parliamentary motion calling on the Scottish Government to take action to safeguard the future existence of the Scottish native red squirrel, including research into immunocontraception—a hormone treatment which prevents pregnancy—to stop greys breeding."

Surely Mr Fraser has better things to be doing with his time and other causes he could be using his parliamentary position to advance? Putting squrrels on the Pill, whatever next?

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Ms. Robison Regrets.

And at the same time as the Scottish Government's Public Health Minister, Shona Robison MSP, was announcing to the Scottish Parliament her plans to ban the display of cigarettes, it was disclosed that she had failed to act to have confidential patient records removed from a former NHS hospital on her own "patch".

"Public Health Minister Shona Robison knew about the patient documentation left at Strathmartine Hospital - and wrote to NHS Tayside demanding action - but Labour say that is not enough given her powerful position. Her letters to NHS Tayside clearly show that she knew last year, when she was a Health Minister, that personal records were lying around the derelict hospital."

Ms. Robison seems to be locked into opposition MSP letter writing mode and doesn't seem to realise that as a "Government" Minister she can actually insist that action is taken by officials in the department she helps oversee. Never mind, she managed to pull off her announcement about banning the display of cigarettes, albeit that in doing so she seemed to take her eye off of the ball of running her Department properly over the course of several months.

The Nanny State.

Is it Mr Smith or does the Scottish Government's announcement about banning the display of tobacco products smack of the Nanny State? Yes, tobacco is a major health issue. Yes, people should be educated and discouraged from smoking. But do our politicians believe that banning the display of tobacco products so that smokers who can legally smoke can't see the packaging that cigarettes come in really makes a lot of sense?

What next? Banning displays of alcohol on the basis that children shouldn't see bottles of alcohol? Banning displays of knives because we want to cut knife crime? Government should educate and legislate where required and appropriate, but fundamentally, adults have the right to make their own decisions. Government seems intent on denying them those choices and without any evidence that what they are doing will make a blind bit of difference.

Mr Smith isn't planning to return to Scotland soon, but at this rate there won't be much left for him to do by the time he does get around to it. Sad.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Fine Display

So, "SCOTTISH Parliament bosses have spent more than £50,000 on revamping the exhibition in the public entrance foyer of the Holyrood building. New features include a new touch-screen display, audio commentary, a model of the chamber and better access for children and wheelchair users."

It seems rather unfair of our elected representatives to be complaining about spending £50,000 on improving the visitor experience to the Scottish Parliament. By all accounts the display that was there was pretty naff and £50,000 weighed up against the £413 million cost of the Parliament really isn't even a hill of beans.

What's the point of encouraging people to visit Holyrood if there isn't really very much for them to see?

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The Un-elected.

So which of our current illustrious Members of the Scottish Parliament have no right to be there?

"THE expert appointed to investigate last year's Scottish Parliament election fiasco has said some MSPs may have no right to sit at Holyrood. Elections watchdog Ron Gould revealed he is "not comfortable" with the view that all 129 MSPs elected last year actually received more votes than their opponents. He blames the farce in which more than 140,000 ballots were spoiled."

So it looks as though we have the best democracy that money didn't even need to buy and we criticise unelected regimes the world over. How long until someone starts analysing the Scottish version of the "hanging chads" to see which MSPs didn't actually get elected?

Separated At Birth.

According to Drumlanrig (via Guido Fawkes), "WRONG, SO WRONG ... Further proof that you can't trust London-based papers to get Scottish stories right. The following comes from Andrew Alexander in last week's Daily Mail. "The head of the Scottish Labour party, Wendy Alexander, is married to cabinet minister Douglas Alexander."Not just wrong, but rather unsavoury too."

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Pharoah.

So, "Mohamed al Fayed says that he will settle permanently in the Highlands if Scotland becomes an independent nation."

That'll be one more reason for not voting for independence for Scotland then.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Marathon Woman.

And Mr Brown MSP is not the only Member of the Scottish Parliament planning to run the Edinburgh Marathon. "A LOCAL MSP who is running the Edinburgh Marathon has invited charities to benefit from her efforts. Angela Constance, SNP MSP for Livingston, is preparing to run the marathon for the fourth time."

And she's done it four times! Once would be enough for Mr Smith.

Bedtime Stories.

Continuing the bedtime story theme, Mr Smith noted recent comments by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean in the House of Lords, "Perhaps the fairy story that we need to think about is Little Red Riding Hood and the question that we need to ask ourselves is who is in the bed. Is it grandma or something different? ..."

Mmmmm. Not often that their Lordships revert to their childhoods. Well they do actually, but not usually Lord Fosyth.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Marathon Man.

"A Lothians MSP is one of 13,000 people to have already signed up for this year's Edinburgh Marathon. Conservative Gavin Brown will be among those entering the event, which takes place later this month."

And they say that Conservatives are old and grey. Mr Brown breaks that mould.

We Are Family.

"Keeping it in the family is, it seems, a motto that unites Scottish MPs from all parties. Under new rules introduced after the Derek Conway scandal, MPs were last month forced to declare in the Register of Members' Interests whether or not they employed family members. Twelve of the 59 Scottish MPs did so. Last week another four added their names to the list. Scottish Office minister David Cairns employs his cousin Angela Moore as a caseworker and Labour MP Brian Donohoe employs his wife Christine as an "executive secretary" – which could give her a salary of up to £40,052. Another Labour MP, Jim Sheridan, employs his daughter Joanne as a caseworker while SNP sleazebuster Angus MacNeil employs his wife Jane as a caseworker on a salary of up to £25,195. SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson had already listed his wife Carron Anderson as his "senior caseworker" on a salary of up to £29,716."

Thursday, 15 May 2008


So, when one of their careers is at stake it appears that Scotland's seven Members of the European Parliament are happy to forget their political differences and are happy to keep flogging a dead horse to stop the number of Scottish MEPs being cut by one.

"A CROSS-party group of MEPs will travel to Westminster today to press the case for Scotland not to take a reduction in numbers from seven to six. All seven current MEPs believe the cut, caused by the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, is unfair and the group will meet Bridget Prentice, deputy to Justice Secretary Jack Straw, to try to avert the reduction."

That's dedication for you. But they should just give up and get on with their day jobs. Blame it on the Bulgarians.

Very Dodgy.

So, "Former West of Scotland MSP Campbell Martin broke the rules by failing to declare a £25,000 gift he received to help buy a house, it has been ruled. Holyrood's standards committee said he should have detailed the cash in his register of interests when he was given it in 2004. Mr Martin, who accepted the findings, has since repaid the gift with interest as part of an out-of-court settlement."

Wouldn't it be nice to have people queuing up to give you £25,000 to buy a house? All in a day's work for a Member of the Scottish Parliament.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


And from Drumlanrig again, "A massive blow against sectarianism was struck in the Scottish Parliament last week. Tory MSP Murdo Fraser laid down a motion issuing good luck to Rangers ahead of their Uefa Cup final appearance this Wednesday. It was promptly signed by Hoops fan and Labour MSP Frank McAveety. What more evidence do you need of the New Scotland?"

Such bi-partisan endeavour is touching. They do say that soccer is the most important thing in life. Even more important than politics.

Who's Calling?

As recorded by Atticus, "There has long been criticism that the quality of debate at Holyrood falls short of Westminster. So thank goodness that the former Labour MP Lord (George) Foulkes is helping to push up standards at the Scottish parliament. Bored by a contribution from the Tory leader Annabel Goldie at first minister's questions this week, he bellowed with exquisite wit: “What's yurr point caller?” Could he be another Oscar Wilde, Atticus wonders."

That kind of political insight is priceless.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Is Breast Best?

"Fewer mothers are breastfeeding in Scotland despite years of initiatives to encourage the practice, with latest figures showing the lowest take-up for six years."

So another success for public policy in Scotland. Millions of pounds spent on educational and health campaigns, The Breastfeeding (Etc.) (Scotland) Act passed by the Scottish Parliament and yet still the rate of mothers breastfeeding falls to even lower levels than it was before they started.

No doubt the Scottish Government will redouble its efforts, spend even more money, commission even more research, pass even more legislation ... and see the breastfeeding rate fall even further. Time for a change of direction?

“Frustrating, Annoying, Bewildering and Prickly” ...

... What former Deputy Labour Leader John Prescott MP really thought about current PM Gordon Brown. Mr Smith thinks it is a fair assessment but do we really want a PM with all of those qualities?

Margo Knows Best.

It's stories like this one which do the Scottish Parliament's credibility even more damage.

"SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT staff are being advised not to use terms such as "lady" and "pensioner" in case they cause offence to the public. Holyrood bosses have drawn up a hit-list of bad words as part of an equality course for employees. The training is costing the public nearly £150,000 and has been blasted as "a complete waste of money" by MSP Margo MacDonald."

For once Mr Smith agrees with Margo.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Branching Out.

From the Scotsman ... a cartoon tells ten thousand words.

Chim Chim-eney ... Chim Chim-eney ...

"ALEX Salmond, the First Minister, has spent £10,000 hiring chimney sweeps for his official residence. The biggest single expenditure at Bute House since the SNP came to power was the maintenance of its chimneys."

That's the problem with living in an older style mid-terrace in Edinburgh's New Town.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Who's Kidd-ing Who?

Courtesy of Drumlanrig, "Glaswegian Scottish Nationalist MSP Bill Kidd managed to alarm a few of his colleagues at an otherwise dull meeting of Holyrood's Equal Opportunities Committee. When asked to present a report, Kidd began with the startling statement: "I must apologise, because my reproductive facilities broke down yesterday." Bemused MSPs, not knowing where to look mumbled their sympathy before one fellow Nationalist ventured: "Are you a eunuch now?" Kidd explained: "My printer was not working."

Mmmm. But who is Bill Kidd? His biography page on the Scottish Parliament website is very limited.

Friday, 9 May 2008


Mr Smith is worried about former Labour MP and General Secretary of NATO Lord Robertson of Port Ellon. Commenting in the House of Lords on Tuesday, "I think that I am about to die. It is said that before an individual dies, their whole life flashes before their eyes. I have that sense now. For 11 of the 18 years we spent in opposition, I was Front-Bench Opposition spokesman for foreign affairs. The noble Lord, Lord Howell, and I used to parade around television and radio studios talking to diminishing audiences about the intricacies of European legislation. I therefore feel back home again in this desert of European-itis, hearing almost exactly the same arguments."

Mr Smith hopes Lord Robertson's health is better than he seems to think it is and Mr Smith thinks that talking about Europe, even for eleven years, really isn't on the same level as death. Death is a bit more conclusive and far more irreversible.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Nothing Changed.

Mr Smith came across a very obscure publication on the Scottish Government's website, "National Survey of Local Government Candidates, 2007 ... Reports the findings of a survey of candidates who were unsuccessful at the local government elections in 2007. Findings from a survey of successful candidates (councillors) also drawn in as appropriate."

To summarise all of the findings of the report would take a while, but Mr Smith was drawn to the contents of Chapter 4, the "Characteristics of unsuccessful candidates and councillors." This section states, "An unintended (but obvious) outcome of the introduction of STV and multi-member wards has been the significant drop in the number of candidates who stood for election ... One of the knock on effects of this has been that political parties appear to have (understandably) fielded mostly experienced candidates, rather than 'fresh faces', which has exacerbated the under-representation of women, particularly from ethnic minorities, and certain age groups among candidates ... The majority of unsuccessful candidates and councillors still match the stereotype of a Scottish councillor. Most are male, middle-aged, married, well-educated and have a relatively high income. The characteristics of councillors are reasonably similar to those of unsuccessful candidates. The main demographic differences are that councillors, compared to unsuccessful candidates, are less likely to have a degree, are more likely to be retired or work part-time, and are even more likely to be aged 55-64. In terms of political experience, councillors are more likely to have served as a councillor in the past ... There have been some changes in the demographics of unsuccessful candidates since 2003, as females are now even more under-represented among those standing for election, and people aged 55-64 are even more over-represented."

So to summarise ... not a lot changed at last year's Scottish council elections in terms of those who now serve as Councillors. They are white, male, older, not in active employment, less well educated and had served previously as councillors, despite the fact that the Scottish Executive spent millions of pounds on severance payments for those councillors that stood down and we spent millions more encouraging even fewer people to stand for election to their local councils. The report proves that all of the things our political leaders said last year about making local government more reflective of Scottish society didn't quite pan out. Labour lost a lot of white, male, older councillors only to have them replaced by white, male, even older councillors from a load of other parties. That was worth it then, eh?

Two Bad Cops.

"THE careers of two policemen who lied in an attempt to frame a law student were in ruins last night. Community officers Neil Jones, 35, and Andrew MacRobert, 28, claimed William Reid and his friend were shouting and swearing in the street after a night out, and charged them with breach of the peace. Mr Reid, 22, was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car after his friend, Callum McCaig, 22, ran off in Bothwell, Lanarkshire.The two policemen later fabricated evidence which claimed Mr Reid had sworn at them and become aggressive in their patrol car in February 2006 – a claim he denied ... Yesterday, Sheriff Ray Small fined Jones £2,000 and MacRobert £1,250 as he told the pair they had "tarnished" the reputation of Strathclyde Police."

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Part of the Union.

Really worrying headline in today's Scotsman .... "Brown leaves the future of Union in Wendy's hands."

God help us. If we have to rely on Wendy, the 300 year old Union has already bitten the dust.

Putting the Boot In.

Mr Smith notes the tirade in the press from SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson against his Labour rival in last year's Scottish Parliament elections.

"'Whingeing' former MSP had only himself to blame ... Commenting on last year's election result in Cunninghame North (your report, 3 May), my predecessor, Allan Wilson, said he "was furious and thought the returning officer was a clown". Having denigrated a public servant who conducted himself throughout a long and weary night in the most exemplary and professional manner, a self-absorbed Mr Wilson whinges about how "drained" he was, having been up since the previous morning. Weren't we all! Particularly as we had to endure a recount lasting more than four hours. Prior to the recount, the SNP majority was 48. After it, 48.Rather than blame others for his political demise or create a myth that he was somehow cheated of victory, Mr Wilson should acknowledge his own culpability. For years, he took the voters of Cunninghame North for granted and thought that, as the previous SNP candidate was standing as an independent, he was home and dry. That he still lost on a night when Labour held eight of its nine constituencies in the West of Scotland, shows how out of touch he was with his constituents and their needs and concerns."

Talk about kicking a man when he is down Kenneth, and anyway didn't Mr Wilson's failure to get re-elected have something to with the fact that the previous SNP candidate and MSP who was effectively forced out of the SNP, ran as an independent, picking up Labour votes and leaving the SNP vote largely in the hands of Mr Gibson?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Call My Bluff.

Another surprise from Oor Wendy.

"LABOUR leader Wendy Alexander backed a referendum on Scottish independence, in a major U-turn intended to call Alex Salmond's "bluff"."

Albeit that the Labour people will only support a one question referendum with yes or no as the answer which they SNP don't want. A very risky strategy, and Mr Smith suspects that the longer we go until a referendum, the riskier Wendy's approach will become, especially with the SNP securing 45% support in the most recent opinion poll. But why did Labour and Wendy spend the best part of the last year, indeed forever, arguing against an independence referendum only to now agree to one when no-one really wanted them to? It looks a bit weak.

Not so much "Call My Bluff" as "Risk".

Bully For You.

Mr Smith thinks this isn't one to be laughing about.

"ALL SCOTTISH Parliament staff will have to undergo "dignity at work" training after figures revealed a rise in bullying. More than 12% of Holyrood employees have complained of bullying or harassment, according to a new equalities report."

The Scottish Parliament should be on of the most pleasurable places to work, not a place full of what can only be described as bullies. But if it that bad at Holyrood it must be far worse in the average Scottish workplace.

Monday, 5 May 2008

A Little Less Conversation.

So, "THE Scottish Government came under renewed attack over its National Conversation after it revealed nearly £100,000 of extra funding was going into the project. Lothians Labour MSP George Foulkes said it was "outrageous" so much public money was being used for what he described as "party political propaganda".

Scandalous. Mr Smith thinks we should just give it to Lord Foulkes to supplement his meagre incomes. Or how about the Labour Party - it needs a big bung.

Sunday, 4 May 2008


"FORMER MSPs have been handed a cash "windfall" of £1.69 - a backdated pay rise for one day. Their wages went up on April 1 last year. But parliament closed down on April 2 at the start of the election campaign, when MSPs who were standing down officially lost their jobs."

What a waste of time. Did the former MSPs miss the cash? Did they even know they should have had it? Mr Smith bets it costs far more than £1.69 to process a payment of £1.69. Don't spend it all at once.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Bride or Groom?

And from the Herald Diary again an insight into the political relationships within the City of Glasgow Council, "WE hear that Labour's council leader in Glasgow, Steven Purcell, and SNP councillor Alex Dingwall have both been asked to be ushers at the upcoming wedding of Labour councillor Aileen Colleran, and SNP activist Chris Stephens. A fellow councillor tells us: "You can just imagine them standing there asking, Labour or SNP?' instead of Bride or groom'."

Jack MacConnell.

From the Herald Diary, "FORMER First Minister Jack McConnell, the next British High Commissioner to Malawi, was increasingly irritated in his previous job when Labour politicians down south got his name wrong, most notably Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt called him "Jack McDonnell" twice during a Scottish TV debate. Last week Jack was down at Westminster's foreign affairs committee, giving evidence about his new appointment. Hansard, the official report of proceedings at parliament, lists him as "Mr John McConnell MSP". Oops."

Friday, 2 May 2008


Which one do you believe?

"A YEAR after leading the SNP to a historic election victory, Alex Salmond is still enjoying a strong personal standing among Scots, according to an exclusive poll for the Scotland On Sunday. The poll was commissioned to mark the first anniversary of the Holyrood elections, and provides a unique insight into what Scotland thinks of Salmond."

Or from the Sunday Times ...

"ONLY three of out ten Scots would trust the First Minister Alex Salmond to look after their wallets, according to a new opinion poll."

Mr Smith thinks the Sunday Times has got it very wrong. Alex Salmond is after all First Minister, not UK Chancellor. Even if he was UK Chancellor Mr Smith suspects Mr Salmond would do better in the ratings than the current incumbent Mr Darling. Even if Scotland was independent Alex Salmond wouldn't personally be holding the purse strings. And isn't all of this very academic anyway given that last May Alex Salmond was elected First Minister and leads and administration which will spend over £31 billion this current financial year, without having to raise one penny of it from any Scottish taxpayers?

Third World.

Mr Smith has already noted the revelations over the weekend about the fact that Labour MSP Lord George Foulkes claimed forty thousand pounds worth of parliamentary allowances for living in a property he already owned.

Coincidentally, in the House of Lords last Friday Lord Foulkes lamented increases in the costs of foodstuffs for those living in the Third World, "My Lords, will my noble friend welcome the concern expressed by Members opposite for the poor of this country, however recent and opportunistic it may be? Will he confirm that the real problem with rising prices of foodstuffs, particularly wheat, rice and milk, is in the third world, where there are extremely poor people who are devastated by what is happening? Will he confirm that our Government will continue to expand and develop our support for the World Food Programme, in contrast to the Tory Government, who halved development assistance?"

Bet the poor people of the Third World wish they could claim forty thousand pounds for living in their own home or more likely shanty. Lord Foulkes' concern is touching. Forty thousand pounds would buy a lot of rice.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The Good Life.

Mr Smith saw the headline and thought it was worthy of further propagation.

"Grow your own vegetables, says MSP ... The Conservatives yesterday set up a working group to look at the impending world food crisis, asking representatives from Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels to look at the issue. Ayr MSP John Scott claimed yesterday that British families would pay out an average of £750 more in the coming year for their groceries ... He said the lead the Holyrood administration could take was on the 10% of food lost in transit, the 30% lost in fridges through waste, and the need for us all to start looking at growing vegetables again as was done in past crises."

The war spirit is still alive and well and living in the Scottish Parliament, but what a waste of food by the Scottish Parliament. Dig for Victory.


"THE Scottish National party has accused Strathclyde police of failing to investigate fully allegations of fraud against Wendy Alexander, the Scottish Labour leader. Christine Grahame, the Nationalist MSP, has written to Stephen House, the force's chief constable, describing its six-week inquiry, in which key witnesses were not interviewed and financial records not examined, as a “whitewash”. She has also demanded an investigation by the police complaints commissioner. Police were asked to investigate claims that Alexander's supporters fraudulently raised £12,000 at two dinners, cash that was later spent on her 2003 election campaign."

Last word to the Police, "A spokeswoman for Strathclyde said it had concluded its investigations: “No evidence of fraudulent activity has been found and the matter is no longer under investigation by this force.”

Maybe we should get Trading Standards involved given that at the very least people were mis-sold tickets for the event? They would probably jump at the chance.

Change of Heart.

"An MSP who quit as a councillor to take up his Holyrood seat accepted a bumper payoff - despite telling voters he would not take it. Nationalist Keith Brown said during last year's election campaign that he would refuse the golden goodbye he was entitled to for quitting Clackmannanshire Council."

He said he wouldn't claim the cash and then he did. And now he plans to distribute the cash to organisations within constituency which raises questions about trying to win votes by handing out the cash, paid for by the taxpayer. Highly questionable.