Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Salmond Will Accept £60,000 Golden Handshake



The title is the headline in today's Times Scottish section, yet there is little mention that he's served in the Commons for 23 years. The author goes on to say, 'The news that Mr Salmond is to take the money, despite continuing his political career at Holyrood, sparked a row which overshadowed his final speech to the House of Commons'. Did it now? Methinks there's a little spinning going on by Ms Davidson.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond defended his decision to take the pay-off, pointing out that he donates one third of his MSP's salary to charity. I have no problem whatsoever with Alex Salmond accepting his golden handshake. I do have problems with the likes of Stephen Byers receiving his.

Yesterday Alex Salmond gave his valedictory speech in the Commons telling MPs he had never been more convinced of the need for independence.

He told MPs he had enjoyed his 23 years debating in the Commons which was "second only to the Scottish parliamentary chamber".

That statement possibly caused more ire than the matter of his golden handshake!

46 comments:

Jeff said...

Hi Subrosa,

I'm afraid we see this differently. What "resettlement" package does Alex require if he already has two well paying jobs, MSP and FM for Scotland?

Richard Lucas said...

Eck more than hinted that the money was going to charity on GMS this morning

subrosa said...

Morning Jeff. The resettlement grant can be claimed by any MP who ceases to be an MP at a general election and is pertinent to the costs of adjusting to non-parliamentary life.

A hypothetical situation: If Alex Salmond was leaving Westminster to continue as a member of a few boards (assuming he was on them while serving) would there be a problem? I think not.

Yes, in accordance with my standard of living, he is well paid but there are many within the public service arena who are paid far more.

Before I wrote this piece Jeff I searched to see if any MP had not claimed the allowance and could find no one. Why should Alex Salmond be the first because he's the FM of Scotland?

This grant has been misused since its conception I'm sure and it very obviously is treated as part of MPs' perks but, as I said, I have no problem with his claim. I do have a problem with the likes of Patricia Hewitt because she already earns far more than Alex Salmond and has been doing so as a serving MP.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

subrosa said...

I was hoping he would say that Richard. Missed the programme - listened to R4.

It's his entitlement if he wishes to claim it. If the Commons authorities thought he was not entitled to it then he would have been notified.

It shows what a mess the whole system is in Westminster and the gross waste of taxpayer's money though.

Dubbieside said...

Subrosa

I wrote of Jeffs blog, where is the list of all the MPs taking the resettlement allowance.

If the list was MPs not taking it, it would be a very short list.

If anyone needed proof of the anti SNP bias in the media they need look no further than this.

Alex Porter said...

A non story Rosie.

Meanwhile trillions of pounds of fraud is being covered up. Something's wrong here, this story's not trivial:

http://scotlandunspun.blogspot.com/2010/03/biggest-fraud-in-history-and-silver.html

subrosa said...

Thanks for letting me know Dubbie. That was my point of the post, to show the bias. My acerbic remarks must have been too gentle regarding Ms Davidson. :)

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link Alex. Do hope others read it.

Hamish said...

I agree with Jeff about this.
I think the whole two-jobs situation was wrong. Admittedly, it was not expected to persist for so long, but Gordon bottled the 2007 election.
The SNP could have put clear water between them and the other parties on expenses.
And giving money to a favoured charity is not the same thing as declining the payment.

William said...

I don't see how Salmond hinting that he will give the money to charity makes it any more acceptable.

He doesn't *have* to take it. He doesn't *have* to give it charity. He could simply leave it where it is; the biggest charity of all apparently, the taxpayer!

subrosa said...

The two jobs situation should have been dealt with within the devolution agreement Hamish. As far as I remember the SNP had no input into that.

I think the Scottish Parliament has put clear water between themselves and Westminster where expenses are concerned.

This, by the way, is not an expense but a grant calculated on the member's length of service etc.

subrosa said...

Strange William how I don't hear folk protest at the massive golden handshakes such as given in this case:

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/5073898.Anger_at_NHS_chiefs___175_000_golden_handshake/

Yes I know it's England but Westminster involves England.

Will it be recorded in history books that Alex Salmond refused his resettlement grant? I doubt it.

Let's concentrate on the serious issues of the day such as poor health in the west, the economy and why the SNP are stopping the aid to certain Malawian projects because they don't agree with their government's laws.

CrazyDaisy said...

SR

Well said, I have no issue with it going to charity. For all those griping RBS was fined £28m yesterday, wonder who'll be paying it - you guessed the Taxpayer and individuals waste time complaining over this issue to try and embarrass the FM, childish ;)

subrosa said...

Funnily enough CD I've just finished a wee post about that and I'll publish it tonight.

Why are so many people objecting to Alex Salmond claiming £60,000 when MPs who get kicked out after a term claim at least £32,000 depending on age?

So many want Alex Salmond to be some kind of sacrificial lamb it seems.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Jeff is absolutely right, Salmond shouldn't get the payment.

But neither should any other MP, other than to cover for cost incurred in staff redundancies etc. Perhaps in exceptional circumstances, work of exceptional standard or real hardship a fund should be available if the Lords rest home hasn't the vacancies.

After all, Marshell and Martin got these handouts and Salmond has done more for his country in two years than those two have done in their whole lifetime.

You want to cry foul? Get your politicians out of the Westminster game and you just might get a result.

Dubbieside said...

Subrosa

Crinkly has it right. This has never been an issue with any MP leaving parliament before. Why has this raised its ugly head now. Oh I forgot that evil Salmond threatening our nice union, cant let that happen.

I wonder if there has ever been a case where a retiring MP has not taken the resettlement allowance? I would guess not.

I wonder if all the Labour "taxis for hire" will claim theirs? (tongue firmly in cheek)

Expect it to be the number one item on Newsnight North Britain tonight.

William said...

With all respect, Subrosa, yours is a classic Humphrey Appleby answer. The economy is big enough to take care of itself and is irrelevant to whether Alex Salmond takes this money or not.

The choice is clear to him. He can refuse to take it. He certainly can't take it and then indulge in 'nudge, nudge, wink, wink, don't worry, I'll give it charity' waffle.

If he's so uncomfortable with taking the money that he has to give the impression that he's giving it to charity then why take it at all? Don't take money from the taxpayer and give it to charity just so you can sleep at night!

Hamish said...

Subrosa, you say:
"The two jobs situation should have been dealt with within the devolution agreement Hamish. As far as I remember the SNP had no input into that."
I don't understand what you mean by that. I just think it is wrong for someone to take two full-time jobs.

"I think the Scottish Parliament has put clear water between themselves and Westminster where expenses are concerned."
No it hasn't. In many ways, its rules are superior. But it is just getting round to banning profiteering from second home purchases.

"This, by the way, is not an expense but a grant calculated on the member's length of service etc."
Were you perchance a lawyer in a previous existence?
'Ladies and gentleman of the jury.
My client is accused of fiddling expenses. No, what he was fiddling was a charge calculated on blah blah.

Dubbieside said...

Subrosa

I find Jeffs comment risible. What jobs Alex Salmond has after he leaves parliament is totally irrelevant.

Does he think all the Labour "taxis for hire" are going to settle down at the fireside and do nothing?

The reality might be that they are trying to arrange multiple paid employment for after leaving Parliament, however only someone far more cynical than me could possibly think that.

Dubbieside said...

William

On the other hand he could simply do what every other MP who has left Parliament has done and take the resettlement grant.

Or can you supply a list of the MPs who have not taken it. Lets start with T.Blair, H MacLeish or maybe G. Dewar did they take it? If they did, why no outcry about them giving it to charity.

Could it be that in this country we have different rules and different standard applied dependent on which party you belong to?

William said...

Dubbieside, I think you're over-complicating what is a fairly simple decision. Should he take the money or not?

I don't think he should. I don't think it's helpful to say that other people have done it so why shouldn't he?

If Mr Salmond wants to portray himself as having the same principles of, say, David Marshall then he should certainly take the money and use the fig leaf of charity to cover up his shame. I think it would be easier, and give him less problems, if he rose above it all and refused it.

Sometimes it really is that simple.

Dubbieside said...

William

I will take it that is a no then, you cannot supply a list of the MPs who have refused the allowance.

Why mention Marshall? whats wrong with having the same principles as a former Prime Minister or a former First Minister.

Its also interesting that you talk principles and mention Marshall, he must share the same principles as Blair and Dewar by your reckoning.

William said...

Dubbieside, the very fact that you're desirous of such a list is indicative of your own discomfort over this. If Mr Salmond taking the money could stand in its own right then you wouldn't need to indulge in whataboutery.

I mentioned Marshall because he was my MP for many a year.

Mr Salmond is a grown man. He needs to decide what he think is right and defensible. Hiding behind the actions of others is never a good sign.

Dubbieside said...

William

I mentioned a list because we both know that no such list exists. Has any MP ever refused this allowance? Doubtful.

My discomfort over this is because of the two faced hypocrisy shown. Every MP as far as I know has taken this allowance, only one has ever been questioned about it. I wonder why that is? It cant be one law for one party and another law for all the rest could it?

You mention Marshall because he was your MP. Why not mention your Prime Minister or First Minister?

P.S. Apologies Subrosa for multiple posts on your blog. This is the last one.

Apogee said...

Oh Dear, Original article by Lorraine Davidson, ex labour spin doctor and current labour apologist and labour promoter and journalist. This is mentioned by the presenter, just about every time she gets a couple of minutes on the BBC.
Her personal politics are her business, but she should keep it out of her job or declare an interest.
When she does a hatchet job on Salmond and no mention of the labour and conservatives doing the same take of the money, it is not honest journalism.

subrosa said...

RA, the closure of an office etc is covered by another grant namely the Winding Up Allowance and Resettlement Grant which is currently an allowance of up to one third of the annual Office Costs Allowance.

I really don't think it matters if Alex Salmond is the FM or has 10 well paid board memberships or has a job lined up in the oil industry.

Is it because he has 2 salaries that is causing this resentment or is it because, as an SNP FM he should 'be above' claiming this?

The grant is there. If he was breaking any Westminster parliamentary law then the claim wouldn't be permitted.

The fact that the Grant should have been done away with years ago is another matter and, as I said previously, an MP of 4/5 years can claim over 50% of the sum an MP with 23 years service receives.

The whole system is wrong.

subrosa said...

Dubbie, that's what I can't understand, the resentment at Salmond claiming this. It seems to me some feel he should be holier than thou.

Of course these four will claim theirs. As Patricia Hewitt said somewhere the other week 'I'm entitled to it'.

subrosa said...

William, have you read Alex Salmond's uncomfortable with taking the money? I haven't.

I could rattle off quite a few ex-MPs who still sleep at night and yet have claimed and received this Grant. David Marshall for one.

What do you want Alex Salmond to do? Be a martyr to the Expenses and Grants system of Westminster. Do you think people will vote for him because of that?

That's the ideals of fairytales.

subrosa said...

I mean Hamish, the 'rules' for the Scottish Parliament were drawn up by labour for how the Parliament operated. Over the years many have been amended but most were made to ensure the SNP could never get into government.

Don't be facetious Hamish, you know fine I'm not a lawyer. There is a difference between a grant and an expense. Google it if you're unaware.

subrosa said...

Dubbie, some have already organised multiple paid employment, in fact some have been practicing that for years and seem to have no trouble fitting them in during their MP working week.

subrosa said...

I have no objection to multiple posts Dubbie - as long as they're not endless duplicates and yours don't fall into that category.

subrosa said...

Agree Apogee, the article is purely Salmond bashing. Who started the row because I'd bet a pound to a penny it wasn't anyone in Westminster. Maybe the Scottish media?

Not one of the dissenters has even mentioned Salmond's 23 years of loyal service he's given to the good people of Banff and Buchan. Not one.

Of course that would be giving credit to the man and they can't have that.

Dubbieside said...

Thanks for that Subrosa, I am aware however that it is your blog and try not to hog it with my posts.

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...

I only wish it was 10 times the amount..still it shows the contradiction of Alex Salmond and his Nationalist followers.

The 10% of nationalists will say well don Alex take the bung.
The 90% of people with a consistent Morality will take a different view.

Alex loses both respect and votes he is not a Little different from another First minister in Northern Ireland.

The real winner is as ever Nicola Sturgeon.

subrosa said...

One of the aims of this blog is to remind people just how many of our volunteering military give up for the protection of these islands Dubbie. Unfortunately they are at the behest of may ignorant politicians.

The other aim is to encourage debate on other issues. You have excelled on that one and I thank along with all other commenters.

subrosa said...

Oh Niko so you support Nicola now. Well done you!

I never heard anything from you about David Marshall taking his golden handshake. I wonder why.

Joe Public said...

"A spokesman for Mr Salmond defended his decision to take the pay-off, pointing out that he donates one third of his MSP's salary to charity."

So effing what! Why should taxpayers involuntarily make charity 'donations' that he gets the 100% tax-relief on?

Nearly an apt wv (insul) missing the 't'

subrosa said...

What's your point Joe? The fact that 646 MPs can claim the money or that Salmond will do.

What anyone does with their money isn't our business.

Have you ever protested at the vast bonuses quango bosses and others receive? That's taxpayer's money.

William said...

"have you read Alex Salmond's uncomfortable with taking the money?"

Why is he giving it to charity then?

subrosa said...

That's an awfy thin argument William.

Alex Porter said...

taxayers and charidee?

What about the trillions of taxpayers money Brown has directed to the banks? That is fraud and is sinking the nation into debt.

Salmond is offered an allowance and is expected to refuse it. And that's a story? If he wasn't entitled or if he didn't declare something then you'd have a story but this is simply gutter politics and eminates from a journalist who has made a career out of anti-SNP diatribes.

Talk about fiddling while Rome burns!

subrosa said...

Well said Alex. I'm disappointed so many are intent on making a song and dance about this. Strange the same people are silent when the endless deaths occur in Afghanistan.

Dark Lochnagar said...

If the man is entitled to it after his many years of service then so be it. He may after all have staff in Westminster who require to be paid some sort of redundancy. It is a non-story put about by the Unionists. I have no problem with any other MP taking it as well. Rules are rules and are there to be abided with until they are changed.

subrosa said...

MPs have to claim this DL, it's not an automatic payment. Also there is another grant given for shutting an office etc.

Alex Porter said...

Exactly Rosie. It would seem that for many politics is simply a video game. Those who suffer are just collateral damage..

subrosa said...

It's not a very high class video game at that Alex is it.

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