Monday, 28 July 2008
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
Ho, ho, ho....
S1M-3578# Christine Grahame: Bah Humbug-That the Parliament notes that the advertising, promotion and sale of Christmas as a commercial calendar event is now encroaching earlier and earlier in the year and that such activities put unacceptable pressures particularly on parents with young children, leading some understandably into financial difficulties; further notes that retail staff and shoppers are subjected to endless jingles before even Halloween masks have been reduced to half price and pumpkins are buy one get six free, and therefore urges the Scottish Executive to take such steps as are required to consign Christmas to where it belongs, no earlier than the month of December.
Supported by: Mr John McAllion, Mr Jamie Stone, Margaret Smith, Michael Matheson, Robin Harper*
Supported by: Alex Johnstone, Mr David Davidson, David Mundell, Lord James Douglas-Hamilton, Mr Brian Monteith*
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Scottish Parliament written answers — First Minister: First Minister (18 Jun 2008)
George Foulkes: To ask the Scottish Executive when it expects the First Minister to take his first journey by train since his appointment.
This is perhaps the most pointless and (clearly) partisan question that I saw George Foulkes had asked of the 30 questions that I looked through from the good Lord.
And over what timescale have these 30 entries amassed? An elected MSP would have that many questions for the Government over what, a year? 6 months? Maybe even 3 months?
No, 11 days.
George Foulkes asked 30 questions of the Scottish Government between 16th June 2008 and 27th June 2008. And that was just the random part of the year that I landed on so is probably not even a special case.
I'm surprised the Scottish Government manages to get anything else done!
Crap chat m'Lord, get your manor in order...
Monday, 21 July 2008
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
In his platform piece in yesterday’s Scotsman ‘change rather than continuity is the way ahead for Lib Dems’ Mike Rumbles attacked the stance that the Lib Dems took in the budget debate (as well in the majority of debates on various issues) in abstaining in the final vote.
I guess Mr Rumbles is just putting across his firebrand credentials whilst trying to convince Lib Dem voters that if they want a change then he is their man. It is interesting to note, however, that when it came down to voting in the Budget instead of following the lead of Cathie Craigie in voting against the budget, Mr Rumbles meekly abstained in the vote.
Words are all fine and well Mr Rumbles but we’ve seen very little in the way of actual action to back them up.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Your friends at Crap Holyrood chat have, mainly due to the boredom and monotony associated with recess, taken an interest in the Lib Dem leadership. Far from us to dismiss it as nothing more than the fourth party of Scottish Politics choosing someone else to lead them into electoral oblivion, instead I think a wee look at the runners and riders would be far more entertaining (ahem)
The Captain Mainwaring of Scottish Politics (aesthetically anyway) was the second man to throw his hat into that ring. I’d love to list the many great things that he has done, instead I’ll leave Jim Tolson MSP, on Ross Finnie's Facebook group, to explain why all Lib Dems should vote for Finnie… Here goes:
WHY I’M SUPPORTING ROSS FINNIE FOR LEADER
Since being elected to the Scottish Parliament in May 2007 I have worked closely with all candidates.
Having spoken to each candidate at length each has their own distinct qualities but in my opinion Ross Finnie is the best Candidate of all three for the Job because;
-Ross has the greatest ministerial experience and was the most respected and longest serving minister of all the candidates.
-Ross is a tactful and thoughtful politician that has worked hard to enhance the reputation of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party.
-Ross engages with fellow MSPs and staff alike.
-Ross displays great leadership qualities- giving direction and always providing support when needed.
-Ross cares passionately about people and politics, knowing that neither is mutually exclusive.
-Ross is a very well schooled and knowledgeable politician which he has shown in his ministerial and shadow cabinet duties.
Vote Ross Finnie for Leader!
Jim Tolson MSP
Thoroughly lovely Jim. Frankly a bit on the gushing side and makes you sound a bit like someone that wets the bed but yeah, lovely none the less.
Mike ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ Rumbles
The man that inspired Ant and Dec to write ‘Let’s get ready to Rumble’ not long after one of them was blinded in a harrowing paint ball incident in Byker Grove, was the first to announce that he fancied the gig of being Lib Dem leader. Mikey also appears to have not only one Facebook group dedicated to his dream of being leader, he has two! Saying that, one seems in jest. Also, a look through the members of the group makes for interesting reading, not quite as interesting as the list for those who haven’t yet replied including Chris Huhne, Nick Clegg and Ming Campbell – so it seems that Grumbles doesn’t have the backing of the high heidiens of the party…well…not on Facebook anyway.
Seems the front runner at present. Don’t have that much to say about him other than he likes dressing up as a Viking. Fair play to him. Also, he apparently has the backing of 6 MSPs at the moment, clearly favourite to win it then and I've now stopped caring.
Anyone have any thoughts? Anyone care?
Monday, 14 July 2008
Margaret was assisted to this end by Robert Brown. The Labour / Lib Dem coalition lives on!
S3M-02296 Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (Scottish National Party): Glasgow East By-Election— That the Parliament condemns the Labour Party for its decision to call the Glasgow East by-election on 24 July 2008 in the middle of the Glasgow Fair, when Glaswegians are traditionally on holiday; is aware that such a decision will disenfranchise thousands of voters who will be unable to secure a postal or proxy vote in a constituency that already has a history of low electoral turnouts; believes that Labour’s decision to call the by-election so quickly is due to a chronic fear of the SNP winning one of its safest seats; considers that calling a by-election so swiftly does not allow voters time to effectively assess the merits of individual candidates and policies, and is of the view that for the democratic process to work effectively by-elections should be held not less than eight weeks after the writ is moved.
Supported by: Stuart McMillan, Keith Brown, Christina McKelvie, Bashir Ahmad Lodged on Wednesday, July 02, 2008;
S3M-02296.1 Robert Brown (Glasgow) (Scottish Liberal Democrats): Glasgow East By-Election— As an amendment to motion S3M-2296 in the name of Kenneth Gibson (Glasgow East By-Election), leave out from “believes that Labour’s” to end and insert “notes, however, the SNP’s poor electoral record in Westminster elections and that the Liberal Democrats are the challengers to Labour in Scotland at that level, with 12 seats to the SNP’s six and with the most recent by-election gain in Scotland being by the Liberal Democrats at Dunfermline and West Fife; further notes that the SNP is in any event largely irrelevant in Westminster elections, with one of their most senior MPs hardly ever in attendance, and believes that the electorate in Glasgow East is more than capable of identifying both the failures of the Labour Government at Westminster and the many u-turns and broken promises that are the hallmark of the SNP government, including those on class sizes, police numbers, student debt, first-time buyer grants and slashed support for Glasgow Science Centre.”Supported by: Ross Finnie, Hugh O'Donnell, Tavish Scott, Mike Pringle Lodged on Thursday, July 03, 2008;
S3M-02296 S3M-02296.2 Margaret Curran (Glasgow Baillieston) (Scottish Labour): Glasgow East By-Election— As an amendment to motion S3M-2296 in the name of Kenneth Gibson (Glasgow East By-Election), leave out from “condemns” to end and insert “notes that if a by-election is not held in Glasgow East now, the earliest that the rules permit a by-election to be held is at the end of October 2008; notes that when an MP resigns, a writ for a by-election cannot be moved during the summer, unlike when an MP dies or is elevated to the peerage; believes that the people of Glasgow East should not go without a voice for four months; supports the decision to call a by-election now, and condemns the SNP for trying to deny the people of Glasgow East a voice until the end of October.”
Friday, 11 July 2008
One of the Labour researchers has. And who can blame him, given the scale of said crap? Having said that, I'm not sure why it's the government's fault when their backbenchers submit crap.
In any case, he emailed everyone (and I do mean everyone) as follows:
These motions are part of public record. The frequency which these types of motions appear are an abuse of parliamentary privilege. It reduces the business bulletin to the "letters page" as submitted by Belligerent (of Beith).
Perhaps there should be a motion put forward on bringing the parliament into disrepute. Perhaps the guidance on how to prepare motions should be updated.
It is disappointing that an administration of any political colour should allow this to continue. The people of Scotland expect better!
Disappointed (of Dundee)
Kenneth Gibson: S3M-02310 Irrelevance of the Liberal Democrats
That the Parliament recognises the utter irrelevance of the Liberal Democrats; believes that they are the architects of their own increasing marginalisation by their refusal to recognise the changing landscape of Scottish politics, which has shown that minority government can work and that their status as kingmakers to the largest party is now redundant; notes the unexpected vacancy for position of Scottish Liberal Democrat leader; considers that there has been a continued decline in Liberal Democrat fortunes in opinion polls, council and by-elections across the United Kingdom, and is saddened that they are still misguided enough in considering that their party is a credible force in Scottish politics.
Thursday, 10 July 2008
The culinary delights of the Parliament canteen are a well kept secret. Delicacies such as boiled courgettes, watermelon mayonnaise or beetroot coleslaw memorable only for their aftertaste... However the Parliament does do a fine line in MarsBar cake.
- That's right a tray bake of rice crispies combined with 17 melted mars bars topped with melted mars bar. It's a treat. And a heart-attack.
However, its absence has been mourned by a number of researchers for many weeks now. Crap Holyrood Chat decided to investigate and Parliamentary authorities inform us that the MarsBar Cake has been deliberately removed due to the canteen recently being awarded a prestigious Healthy Living Award.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Now and again, working in the Scottish Parliament can feel like a bad episode of The Office. Today, was one of those days.
I've just witnessed 3 workmen take the bulb out of every desklamp on the ground floor and replace them with a slightly softer tone lightbulb - throwing the perfectly bright, old halogen lightbulbs in the bucket...
It's just bizarre and a total waste of money! They'll be bringing people in to file the sharp edges off the paper clips next...
First, I want to talk about the Labour Party and what it proposes in its motion. It is a disappointment that, once again, the rump of the Scottish Labour Party has come to the Parliament and demonstrated that it neither understands nor can cope with the notion of opposition.
"This has been a very valuable and useful debate. I welcome the contributions and views that have been expressed".
Let us consider the record of Labour in opposition when it matters and the issues that it has brought to the Parliament. In the past year, Labour has had 19 debates and of those—this is a fact and facts are chiels that winna ding—only five contained a policy proposal and one of them was on the Calman commission, which does not count as a policy in any way. That leaves four policy proposals, of which only two were new ideas. Labour in opposition is not moving Scotland forward, it is moving itself backward. There was nothing new in the five Lib Dem debates either—not one new policy was proposed. Even the Tories have a better record than that.
This afternoon, we have heard several dismal speeches that were designed only to carp. I accept that many of them were fairly entertaining, but I want to single out one that was not. I can describe Johann Lamont's speech only as a sour and bitter attack full of smears and false innuendo all shrouded in a cloak of false indignation about parliamentary accountability. What annoys Johann Lamont and so many other Labour members is not that we have failed to be accountable but that the people of Scotland like what we are doing.
I understand the frustration that somebody who has spent their career saying that something cannot be done will feel when they discover not only that it is being done but that it is being done well, but my advice to Johann Lamont and to other Labour members is to get over it and start contributing to the debate. That has been the constant theme of the debate. There can be no criticism of things that are not happening—that is not possible.
Councils and the Government are working hard to achieve that.
Some of the criticism has involved accusing the Government of being populist, but the real objection is that we are popular, not populist. The Government's mission is to meet and match the rising ambitions of the people of Scotland and to improve their daily lives. That is a popular ambition and one that we will fulfil. Moreover, people know it. Research that was carried out between May and November showed that trust in the Scottish Government had increased by 20 percentage points in a year, from 51 per cent to 71 per cent, which is twice the level of public trust that is placed in the Westminster Government.
We have laid out a range of proposals and activities that we will bring forward. The First Minister will set out the full details of our legislative programme in September. As he did two weeks ago, he will mark a visionary course for Scotland—one that is full of detail, that will continue to drive Scotland forward and that will appeal to the Scottish people. The only critics of it will be those who do not understand the thirst and ambition of the Scottish people for change.
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
S3M-02288 Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (Scottish National Party): Humiliation in Henley— That the Parliament understands that Labour came fifth in the Henley by-election; considers that this catastrophic result for the Prime Minister on the eve of his first anniversary in power is a clear signal that he has lost any confidence that the public may once have had in him and the UK Labour government; is aware that Labour’s moral authority to govern is diminishing by the day with even the pro-Labour media, party apparatchiks and nomenklatura losing faith; contrasts the dynamic, visionary “can do” attitude of Scotland’s minority SNP government in Edinburgh with the stagnation, dithering and ineptitude of Labour at Westminster; wishes to see former First Minister, Rt hon Jack McConnell, appointed High Commissioner to Malawi as soon as possible, in order for him to work for the betterment of that country, while allowing a by-election in Scotland that will allow for the election of an SNP MSP who will work for the benefit of ours.
S3M-2024 Bill Kidd: The Labour Party’s Cash Crisis
"That the Parliament notes the serious financial difficulties facing the Labour Party, which has five weeks to find over £7 million pounds to pay off outstanding loans or face the possibility of the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP and other senior officials becoming personally liable and subsequently facing possible bankruptcy; believes that the scale of continuing financial mismanagement within the Labour Party raises serious concerns over its ability to control the finances of the United Kingdom, and further believes, that given that according to Labour sources "the party’s constitution is like a five-a-side football club", it is of little wonder that so few voters now trust the UK Government."
The site seems dominated by SNP and Liberal Democrat MSPs so far. Surely there must be some partisan comments from elsewhere?
Oh and what's wrong with five-a-side football clubs? My club is very well run.
Well, that should be the case, apparently not when you are Christine Grahame though, instead, she puts down a motion demanding that Pringle Weavers desist from using the Lion Rampant emblem.
At times, you couldn’t make it up.
S3M-02304 Christine Grahame (South of Scotland) (Scottish National Party): Pringle of Scotland No More— That the Parliament notes with regret the recent decision by Pringle of Scotland to end production of its manufacturing operations in Hawick, bringing to an end almost 200 years of production in Scotland; notes further that Pringle relies heavily on the “Scottish brand” to market its products and considers that it should desist from using the Lion Rampant emblem and any reference to Scotland in its marketing which, in the circumstances, is entirely misleading, and further urges the Scottish Government to explore all legal avenues to prevent the use of these Scottish references should the company fail to do so voluntarily.
Given that Holyrood is in recess until September this site might be slow going at first. However that just gives us time to look back at some of the less worthy motions and comments which been made in Parliament.
Jeff kicked it off with comments from SNP MSP Kenny Gibson. It therefore only seems fair, by way of balance, to follow this with a response from Liberal Democrat MSP Robert Brown to another Kenny Gibson motion.
S3M-2296.1 Robert Brown: Glasgow East By-Election
As an amendment to motion (S3M-2296) in the name of Kenneth Gibson, leave out from "believes that Labour’s" to end and insert "notes, however, the SNP’s poor electoral record in Westminster elections and that the Liberal Democrats are the challengers to Labour in Scotland at that level, with 12 seats to the SNP’s six and with the most recent by-election gain in Scotland being by the Liberal Democrats at Dunfermline and West Fife; further notes that the SNP is in any event largely irrelevant in Westminster elections, with one of their most senior MPs hardly ever in attendance, and believes that the electorate in Glasgow East is more than capable of identifying both the failures of the Labour Government at Westminster and the many u-turns and broken promises that are the hallmark of the SNP government, including those on class sizes, police numbers, student debt, first-time buyer grants and slashed support for Glasgow Science Centre."
For too long Holyrood has been derided as a Mickey Mouse Parliament, a talking shop where little gets done and the calibre of politician is woeful.
The time is therefore right to publicly humiliate any MSP who brings "crap chat" to the chamber. We need these people to feel the fire of the electorate beneath their feet and if they can't bring the quality and the professionalism to the job, then they shall be turfed out at the next election in favour of an eloquent, capable woman or man who can do the job instead.
Although this blog is chiefly to register any unnecessary partisan rants, intellectually-lacking speeches and/or ignorant waffling from our MSPs, there is always space for those rare moments when an MSP comes out with a golden phrase or a witty line or three.
And to ensure this blog is as thorough and complete as it could possibly be, I am more than happy to send out author invites to those who may be interested in posting, particularly those who are much closer to the day-to-day Holyrood action than I am.
So thank you for your interest and let us all look together to a brighter future, free of crap Holyrood chat.