Friday, 15 January 2010

Scottish Affairs Committee

Last night I spent around an hour listening to the Scottish Affairs Committee when the witnesses were Jim Murphy, Secretary of State for Scotland and Robin Haynes, Head of Financial Services, Scotland Office.

It was reported that 'Jim Murphy in war of words with SNP MP'. The SNP MP in question is Pete Wishart.

Having listened from 0.43.00 for some time, (where Mr Murphy begins his attacks on the SNP), I can completely understand why Mr Wishart's frustration boiled over at 1.14.30. You can view the tape here but please be patient because BBC leaves a lot to be desired and is slow to buffer to sections. Further sarcasm addressed to Pete Wishart is from 1.51.00 for a minute or two.

Mr Murphy spent a considerable amount of time substantiating his job and the two examples he was able to give of what projects he has undertaken since taking office were a job seminar in Glasgow earlier this week and assisting a Western Isles SNP MP with a threatened redundancy problem in his constituency. He was obviously annoyed he did not receive copy letters sent from Scottish government ministers to various Westminster departments and stated his staff had to ask for them.

Mr Murphy forgets the job of Secretary of State for Scotland was part-time for a considerable period and one of his predecessors also managed to do it whilst being Defence Secretary and the country was at war. Therefore the SNP has every right to ask him what he does with his time and also to have suggested there was no need for the expense of the Scotland Office.

Not an impressive performance from Mr Murphy. It was unprofessional and his detailed knowledge of the Calman Report appeared to be sketchy as he required the assistance of Mr Haynes at times.

I'm more convinced than ever that the Scotland Office is surplus to requirements and the millions it costs per year could be put to much better use elsewhere, either within Westminster or the Scottish Parliament.

He was Europe Minister as he reminded the committee on several occasions. I'm quite sure he wasn't highly regarded by many of his German colleagues for his style of dress if yesterday was anything to go by. If he thought he would cool and relaxed by removing his jacket then it didn't impress me one bit. To me, his dress looked untidy and quite out of place, when all others were in business attire. A minor point yes, but an important one all the same when you're in a position of authority. Call me old-fashioned.


Clarinda said...

I detect the whiff of 'Parkinson's Law' in full exploitation:-

"Work expands to fill the time available for its completion"

Except, Mr Murphy has added a his own wheeze of contriving the "work" along with the requiste plague of assistants and subordinates all on his side to manufacture said "work" where none was necessary before.

I recall being told that a camel is actually a horse produced through the similar convolutions of an office administration.

I would merely suggest to the likes of Mr Murphy, appearing in his shirt, that if he is feeling a bit sweaty perhaps a cold shower would be more appropriate?

Strathturret said...

Thanks for this subrosa. I spent too long listening to Alec Salmond and Kenny MacA before this committee earlier in the week - very interesting too.

On financial discussion between Murphy and Wishart I felt that neither had a grasp of the detail. Pete Wishart had headline criticisms of proposals but could not drop down to detail points. I have read Cuthberts cricisms but Pete needed to hit Murphy with specific points they raised. Murphy seemed quite happy to parrot his party line without corroborating with any detail.

Strathturret said...

later... Murphy really is an oily piece of work.

Pete Wishart needs to quote examples of Murphy's negativity.

This committee is all pretty low key. I can't see many MPs pressing to sit on it, apart from Mundell.

Anonymous said...

A Special Branch plant.

Key bored warrior. said...

Good article Rosie. I blogged a wee bit on Murphy re the Renfrew Ferry and how he tries to spin every single thing as an SNP failing. Glasgow Council run the ferry but it is just more evidence according to Murphy of the SNPs uncaring attitude to Glasgow. The city, which incidentally gets more per head from Holyrood than any part of Scotland.

Murphy is I believe the first Scottish Governor General to be warned in the House of Commons on his remarks at Scottish Question.

He tries to hard to appear super cool and confidant. This relaxed mode of dress and his lounging against the despatch box like a corner boy is just adolescent, like a spotty wee ned at the dancing trying to impress the lassies. He is I believe a very frightened and insecure man. The hatred he holds for the SNP just pours from him, his every comment drips with sarcasm. He thinks he is smart and witty, but he just cannot hack it, it is all posturing. If he ever ends up in Holyrood, Alex Salmond will chew him to bits.

He and his office are just an expensive Unionist political placement, who can perform no useful function other than to damage his own country as so many of the Unionist Vichy have done down the years. Who can forget the odious MP Davidson with his shout of “who cares,” when a Scottish question was asked in Westminster. Oh how they laughed and sneered, and oh how he beamed and squirmed as they poured out there adoration for the treacherous Unionist pip squeak.

The sooner they go the better for Scotland.

subrosa said...

Would a cold shower help him disguise his hatred of anyone who supports independence Clarinda? I think not.

He's so emotionally immature insofar as he, along with some other unionists, just can't argue on facts only fear.

subrosa said...

That's ok Strathturret. Much of this was boring to be honest, in fact it was like a 4th year life skills class but I was interested to see why the Scotsman blazed that headline.

subrosa said...

Aye Strathturret, Pete kind of missed out. If he'd had more detail (although he did give some) he would have been in a stronger position.

Mundell seemed like Murphy's bestest buddy.

subrosa said...

Certainly not an intellectual then Bug. :)

subrosa said...

I read that about the Ferry KBW. 'Relaxed mode of dress'? I was going to write scruffy in the post because that's how he looked. The man earns £125,000 for goodness sake and he can't wear a shirt which looks pressed.

Your description is great KBW.

Not many people would watch this but if they did they would see the vast difference in the likes of Murphy compared with John Swinney and Alex Salmond who are men of intelligence and substance.

Strathturret said...

Yes Murphy was hiding behind Muscatelli, man of great substance, Calman were unanimous, great intellects, etc, etc. Well Calman was unanimous but who picked the team!

Surely one thing we have all learned about Economics is that it is not a Science. There are no absolute truths. All they can offer is an opinion or comparison with a previous situation.

As a non-economist, I would suggest giving Scotland the power to vary Income Tax without giving us power to set Company Tax is incompetent and unworkable. If the IT rate was raised by Scotland lots of sole traders turn themselved into companies. If lowered vice-versa. This is what happened when Brown introduced Company Tax rate of 0% on first £10,000 of profit in his early years. He had to reverse it for reason stated.

Ditto income tax rates need to be linked to Capital gains tax rates for similar reasons I would have thought.

My feeling is that Calman is really offering a pretendy power to vary tax that they know no sane Government will ever use. An effective Scots Government needs all the tools not just one blunt scredriver.

Cuthberts made many more complex points. From their arguements Calman's financial model looked like a Bear trap for us.

CrazyDaisy said...


Good article, I posted on the SoS website that he was "workshy" it did not last the night!

I agree with KBW he does nothing to instill confidence in me, the jacket less option looks unprofessional - period but then that's exactly what he is.

The Scotland Office is a complete non-entity and the money and wage could be used elsewhere providing a foot hold for those trying top get out of poverty and into the jobs market, £millions wasted on Labour ego.

Have a good wochenende, thawing here!


subrosa said...

Strathturret, would you mind emailing me please. I think your points value further discussion.

subrosa said...

CD thawing here too but slow. Of course skiing is wonderful so I'm told.

Bis jetz ich mein Wochendende entückend gewse. Ich offe das es weitermacht. :)

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