Thursday, 4 February 2010

FMQs 4 February 2010

Council spending cuts, a request to review GPs' contracts, tasers and Scottish contracts for the London Olympics were the main points raised at today's FMQs.

Iain Gray questioned the FM about councils cutting areas of the services and in particular education. The FM resoundingly rebuked the accusation that councils were receiving less of the Scottish grant than under previous administrations and assertively confirmed they received more. He did concede all councils had to share the £800m cut imposed by the Treasury on the Scottish grant.

GP's contracts occupied Ms Goldie. She announced a conservative government would renegotiate GP contracts as out-of-hours care was proving to be inadequate. Mr Salmond was ambivalent on the subject but insisted Health Boards offered quality out-of-hours care and Scots were more and more satisfied with the health care they received.

Strathclyde police have introduced a pilot scheme which allows more police to undergo arms training in order to use taser guns. Tavish Scott wasn't happy about this as he considered it a slippery slope to all police being armed. The FM responded saying the choice was that of the head of Strathclyde police and the parliament should wait to see the results of the pilot before discussing the subject further.

The Olympics Committee had only offered 7 contracts to Scottish businesses it transpired and other parts of the UK were in a similar position. The greatest majority of contracts have gone to businesses in the SE of England. The FM was not pleased as the Olympics Committee had said the games would be of benefit to all of the UK. He agreed the government should try to encourage more businesses to register.

Not a particularly exciting half hour but a solid performance by most.

Yesterday, at the Budget debate, I noticed Patrick Harvie wasn't wearing a tie with his smartish suit. I mentioned this on Twitter only to have Malc and hythlodeaus say it wasn't important. In fact Malc mentioned, quite rightly, that Jack McConnell, the ex-FM, was also guilty plus '... but the Scottish Parliament isn't Westminster, it's a modern Parliament, more relaxed'.

Hopefully Malc meant 'informal' and I'm sure he did. It may be a modern Parliament with an informal atmosphere but the people still expect their MSPs to dress according to its status as the seat of government. That means a suit and tie plus, if we're lucky these days, polished shoes. That is the standard of 'white collar workers' in today's Scotland and MSPs fall into that category.

When I suggested the police could do away with ties if it was so acceptable, Malc's response was 'The police uniform is a different thing entirely. I'd have thought with your interest in military affairs you'd recognise the difference between a uniform and a suit and tie'.

Oh I do Malc, I do. Most business and public service organisations have a dress code and the Scottish Parliament could be regarded as both. A business dress code is a uniform of sorts. If Mr Harvie worked for Honeywell or IBM he would have been told to dress correctly or take a day's unpaid leave.

The people of Scotland deserve our elected representatives to conform to the standard of a suit and tie for males and suitable business wear for women, in the same way we expect our police, military and other public services to adhere to their own dress codes. It's part of the job to be clothed appropriately. If male MSPs are permitted to enter the chamber without ties, it wouldn't surprise me if the next acceptable style for men was jeans and a jacket. That's a 'relaxed' look I believe.

To be fair to hythlodeaus he seemed quite impressed porters in a part of Edinburgh Uni still wore tail coats and white gloves as uniform when appropriate. I'd be quite impressed if the Parliament insisted all male MSP wore a suit and tie when in the Chamber.


Strathturret said...

Subrosa on dress I'm afraid you're out of touch. Many companies now dress casually even in quite senior roles. Especially IT companies. I was in the HQ of one of Scotland's largest company's recently and the tie count was only at about 50% (men obviously).

I can think of one MP who is often very scruffy in his constituency!

I'm not saying its right, in fact I tend to agree with you. But I suspect the tie has had its day.

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

To be honest subs if Alex Salmond played a broken violin with one string. Using only his feet whilst blindfolded at FMQs you would say he was wonderful, Brilliant, marvelous etc........

Bias is to tame a description

subrosa said...

I am possibly out of touch Strathturret, but this dress business has been going on all my working life. The smarts always won against the scruffs though.

Such a shame that the well dressed man will soon be the odd one out.

It's a little like manners isn't it. I always used to say manners will open far more doors than most things. Fortunately those I was responsible for teaching manners to agree with me nowadays. At the time they used to complain their peer groups thought they were too posh and other ruder insults.

subrosa said...

Niko, tell me, who outdid Salmond in performance today? Pardon? No answer?

Enough said.

Dramfineday said...

Oi Strathturret leave her alone she might be out of touch regarding ties but's she's got a drawer full of stockings, suses and other delectables - which sure beats the life out of the 900 denier footless tight passion killers the gals are all wearing these days

Yes SR I read the article at the time!

PS At one time, the tie was a must in the company I spent the bulk of my life in but laterly it imported American "Guru's" and the tie started to decline (so did the company. but that's another matter)

Demetrius said...

Olympics contracts, be careful what you wish for is an old proverb. Some of these could turn out to be pure poison.

Strathturret said...

I was thinking, how much would someone pay to have lunch with Ian Gray?

TartanSeer said...

Other than the ritual filleting of Gray the highlight of today's FMQ's must surely be the FM's response to David McLetchie's daft ideas on privatising Scottish Water.

Mr Salmond rightly pointed out that not only would privatisation of our water cost more & result, if the English experience was anything to go by, in a inferior service, but that any receipts from the selling off of Scottish Water would end up in the maw of the Westminster government rather than here in Scotland.

McLetchie's face resembled a rapidly deflating baloon.

And this guy is touted as potential Scottish Secretary material?

Fitaloon said...

Sadly , it's all true Our MD in the UK is most often tie less. He was picked up on it at a meeting yesterday by 2 of his minions in front of 2-300 people and didn't seem best pleased.

subrosa said...

Dram, I really should delete your comment. People will be thinking I'm an old floosy. :) Mind you, I still think the care someone takes with their appearance shows their respect for others.

subrosa said...

I think you may well be right Demetrius. Especially when the funding is already so far over the limit.

subrosa said...

Erm... Strathturret, I don't 'do' lunch - thankfully.

subrosa said...

Tartan Seer, I omitted that sorry. It's my intention to post on Scottish Water at a later date once the debate comes to the fore if it ever does. The tories have been plugging away about it for a couple of years now.

Quite a few has-beens in the tories aren't there?

subrosa said...

Good for his minions FL. Is he American? They tend to have this casual attitude these days as Dram says, yet their top IT companies are rigid about dress code. (Mind you I think they have one dress down day a week these days).

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