Thursday, 19 November 2009

FMQs 19 November 2009

Thursday High Noon and as usual Iain Gray was the first to step up to the plate at First Minister's Questions. This week he was concerned with the report that Scotland would have a deeper recession that the remainder of the UK and tried desperately to pin the blame on the First Minister.

The FM, after graciously welcoming Willie Bain to the gallery, swept the allegations aside with the counterclaim that the cost of GDP, gross value added, was slightly less than across the whole of the UK He used the construction industry in Scotland as an example saying " The Scottish construction industry has fallen by 6.3%. That is a savage decline and that's with the Scottish Futures Trust coming in at the present moment. The exact comparable figure for the UK, without the Scottish Futures Trust is a decline of 8.2%."

Iain Gray should know by now he'll never come out the winner in an argument about the economy with Alex Salmond.

Annabel Goldie raised the matter of child malutrition. Out of 1500 children admitted to the Sick Children's Hospital it was found 150 were suffering from malnutrition and asked the FM what action his government were intending to take to reduce child malnutrition. The response was that both the UK and Scottish governments had undertaken promises to reduce child poverty and the FM said he would collate the information from the various agencies and inform her of the result. Her next question was the lack of health visitors within communities as she stated, rightly I think, that health visitors are the key to ensuring children are being properly cared for.

Tavish Scott questioned the high salaries of quango staff receive in Scotland. He stated 3400 staff earn more than Scottish government ministers. The FM retorted most of these salaries were set by the last labour/libdem administration and surely Mr Scott wasn't suggesting he tore up their contracts. He also reminded Tavish Scott that last year government ministers had accepted a pay freeze.

Supplementary questions mainly related to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Mr Salmond supported the recent increase in funding as he said the games would be a benefit to the whole of Scotland for generations to come. He found it disappointing that Jim Murphy and Gerry Sutcliffe cancelled the meeting with the Sports Minister on the 10 November to discuss the return of £150m of lottery money to Scotland, plus we were losing £165m from the regeneration fund because the UK government refused to subject it to the Barnett Formula in the normal way. Other financial figures were reported and for those interested, First Minister's Questions can be viewed on HolyroodTV and also for a short time on BBC iPlayer.

That's it for this week.


Anonymous said...


I said it yesterday that Gray would go on the econemy. He is on a hiding to nothing by trying to hide Browns botched gov recovery plans on the SNP.

Oh so was Bain in the Parley today? No doubt to rub salt in the wounds of the SNP.

subrosa said...

Aye and he sat there looking all erm... I'll not use my description if you don't mind.

Gray just doesn't get it. He gives Salmond so much ammunition whenever he questions the economy.

Malcolm Cole said...

There are at least 3,400 public sector staff who are paid £80,000-£100,000 not the 340 you have put.

That represents less than 1% of public sector staff but they receive £401,000,000 in salaries

subrosa said...

Ooops sorry Malcolm, missed out a 0. Will amend it right now. Thanks very much.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Just like to keep you up to date on how "poor" Scotland is since the MSM somehow doesn't like to mention the subject:

Tornado Discovery

Oil running out. Aye, right. (Hey, it's catching. lol)

I'll catch the FMQ. It is always amusing to see Mr. Salmond explain the economy to the clueless Iain Gray.

I'll post some information on the bye-election that somehow the MSM missed also. I CAN'T imagine how they missed it, unless it just possibly that it makes the Labour win look a bit less than wonderfu. But surely that's not it. ;-)

Jeanne Tomlin said...

I meant Later I will post some information that I think will interest you. It takes a bit and I don't have time right this minute.

But there is more to that election than the MSM is mentioning... and very easy to find out.

Vronsky said...

One wonders why the Unionists persist in this argument straight from the Goon Show: the Union has completely fucked your economy, so obviously the most sensible thing for you to do is to stay in the Union. Yeah, obviously.

Vronsky said...

Off topic, sorry. They're giving up on swine flu. One up to the internet.

subrosa said...

Jeanne, I admire your search skills more and more. Many thanks.

Now you have me intrigued.

I shall be back in a few hours and look forward to seeing your link.

subrosa said...

Take heart Vronksy, some of us still believe exactly what you say.

Yes I heard a piece on Sky earlier about pregnant women rejecting it. I received a letter from my GP inviting me to go and have strange things pumped into my arm - not once but twice - but somehow it ended up in the shredder.

Clarinda said...

10% of child hospital admissions is a horrendous percentage (some may be readmissions and not individual new admissions) but... tragically, and although not politically correct, it is not the absence of money leading to many cases of child malnutrition but too much parental ignorance, indifference and probable neglect.
Children's nurses have too many accounts of continual readmission of 'failure to thrive', head and body lice infestation, malnutrition and general deprivation associated with chaotic and ingrained family life behaviours. Free school lunches help but only if the child in need attends their school to receive them and of course underage school children at their most vulnerable time miss out on this worthy enterprise. Perhaps it's not money but food only vouchers that are needed for many.

Bugger Lugs said...


Bring back the Green Ladies

subrosa said...

Don't you think more health visitors would help Clarinda? They're the ones who used to supervise the wee ones but of course things may have changed nowadays.

Was talking about this earlier and someone said 'fine the parents' but the parents possibly won't afford the fine so back to square one.

Indeed, food vouchers are a good way to go.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Sorry for the delay, Subrosa. I had a very busy day. I don't want to post politics on your later post for obvious reasons. Besides this relates directly to the new PM.

I was reading WarDog's blog and came across a comment that I found interesting. I hope he doesn't mind me quoting him.

In 2005 the Socialist Labour Party got 4,036 votes, whilst last week they got only 47.

It's more than likely that the earlier significant vote (a vote that made it third in the 2005 race) was largely down to voter confusion - as the Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin wasn't identified as a Labour candidate on the ballot paper, thus voters intending to vote Labour put their cross beside the Socialist LABOUR Party.

On face value, Labour's share of the vote increased from 53.3% to 59.4% between the two polls, however if it's assumed that c. 4,000 of the Socialist Labour Party's vote were intended for the Labour Party in 2005 then its share would have been around 67%, the straightforward comparison between 2005 and 2009 would therefore show a significant fall in Labour's support whilst the SNP held it's ground. Indeed, taking that assumption, the Labour vote actually fell by 7% in what is widely accepted to be one of their safest seats in the UK.

Taking account of the turnout, their support appears to have halved in these intervening years.

I wasn't going to take his word for it, (sorry, War Dog) so I did some checking and it looks very much like he is right. Look at the 2005 election results.

Speaker 15,153 53.3
SNP 5,019 17.7
Socialist Labour 4,036 14.2

4,036 Socialist votes in Glasgow NE? Get out of here! They marked the only LABOUR on the ballot.

In the EU election Socialist Labour came out 8th with 446. Now I don't have the previous results for that constituency, but if he is right that wasn't nearly a good a win for Labour as everyone thought it was.

Still only holding their ground SNP, mind you was not a good result, but really kind of takes the wind out of Labour's little triumph. And holding your ground is better than losing ground, that's for sure.

Wouldn't you have THOUGHT that some newspaper would have kind of noticed a political party dropping more than 90% of their vote?! Did ANYONE mention it? I have to question why no news broadcasters one picked up, as far as I know, on something that should have been glaring.

WarDog commented further and I'll leave debating whether he's right on the math to our statistical anoraks if they care to:

An 7% fall in support is significant and may be more than enough to propel the SNP into 20 Westminster seats, assuming that they can at the very least hold their own vote at the 2010 General Election.

By the way, here's a link to War Dog's blog. He has been known to call unionists a few rude names, so his blog isn't for everyone.

If you don't believe his statistics, check them yourself. Labour dropped 7% in the bye. They did NOT go up.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Sorry, obviously I had a typo and meant MP and NOT PM. Oops! *rolls eyes*

subrosa said...

Morning Jeanne. Thanks so much for your comment. I do read Wardog's blog regularly so I have seen his posts but now I realise how extraordinary the matter is.

As to why nobody has picked up on it, that's nothing new. All newspapers are unionist.

Anonymous said...

'Gray just doesn't get it. He gives Salmond so much ammunition whenever he questions the economy.'

Totally agree...! Although I have a feeling that Labour actually are quite painfully aware of this, it's only that they can't come up with another topic...

Whenever I criticise people for their choices, I try to see whether I can come up with a better course of action - and on this, at the moment, I can't.

The economy is the key issue at the present time and I genuinely can't think of a topic for Gray to pick up on (except maybe class sizes and school-building but Labour have tried that already).

subrosa said...

I agree political scot that the economy is the central focus. Pity labour don't have someone who understand it. I mean Gray bangs on about apprenticeships. Labour's done away with those and all they're really talking about is training courses which are, by and large, little benefit to anyone because they're far too short.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Subrosa said:

As to why nobody has picked up on it, that's nothing new. All newspapers are unionist.

Actually, I know that. I just tend to pretend that I don't. ;-)

I think this is an important point and one that needs to be spread as far as possible. Obviously, the newspapers and the BBC won't touch it.

THEY KNEW this was the case and chose to try to ignore it so people wouldn't realize how big the decline in Labour vote was. This wasn't something they didn't notice. It was something they chose not to tell people. AGAIN!

Adding this to the information, frankly, totally changes any accurate analysis of that particular election. It was by most standards a disastrous result for Labour in their safest seat in the UK.

subrosa said...

Jeanne, did you know Wardog's closed his blog because of accusations by a Sunday paper to his employers?

Dramfineday said...

Which Sunday paper was that then? Names changed to protect the guilty.....
a) The Sunday Past
b) The Sunday Letter
c) The Sunday Clock (Scottish Ed)
d) The Hootsman on Sunday
e) The Glasgow Trumpeter on Sunday
f) The(Nasty)letter on Sunday
g) The Sunday Watcher
h) The Independant unionist on Sunday?
j) The Sunday Folks
k) The Sunday Sporty Spice
l) all of the above?

Sorry if I've missed any other favourites out

Dramfineday said...

Dram you dunderheed you did miss a major....... The Sunday morse code or if you like The Sunday acient technology

subrosa said...

Dram Information of the Globe it was Dram along with 2 Scottish dailies.

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