Thursday, 28 October 2010

FMQs 28 October 2010

The economy was the main feature today.  All party leaders concentrated on how money was distributed.

Iain Gray, in an attempt to galvanise support from his party for their conference this coming weekend, returned, for the umpteenth time, to the question of the surplus of newly qualified teachers currently without employment.  The First Minister responded by stating, among other facts, that it was mainly Labour councils who were reducing teacher numbers. A weak effort from the Labour leader.

The Tory leader Annabel Goldie and the LibDem leader Tavish Scott both made good points.  The Tories want to know if the Scottish Government plan to introduce some form of contribution from university students.  Alex Salmond replied a decision would be made once the inquiry and other investigations relating to university funding, reported their findings next year.  A clever side-step from the FM because these reports will not be available until after the May elections.

Tavish Scott is after those NHS bureaucrats who earn more than £50,000 a year.  He wanted to know what the FM was doing about reducing the number of them.  This was today's question which certainly sent the FM into full waffle-flow.  He didn't know why the numbers had increased but insisted the increase in NHS staff had been in front line services.  Mr Scott knew better and Mr Salmond knew it.  I hope the LibDems keep banging the drum on this one because there has to be a reduction in NHS bureaucracy if moral of front line staff is to be upheld.

Other questions included the worries about the Moray bases and the serious allegations of abuse in a care home in Margaret Curran's constituency.

Some good information this week if you listen between the lines.

Democracy Live hasn't uploaded the video as yet although it ought to be online at HolyroodTV by this evening. The General Question Time, prior to today's FMQs, may interest some of you.  Subjects discussion included broadband throughout Scotland and the Carbon Trust.  Unfortunately the video will not download but you can view it here.


Jeanne Tomlin said...

"He wanted to know what the FM was doing about reducing the number of them. This was today's question which certainly sent the FM into full waffle-flow. He didn't know why the numbers had increased but insisted the increase in NHS staff had been in front line services. Mr Scott knew better and Mr Salmond knew it...."

Imagine that. Mr. Salmond wanted to check the facts before he spoke--your definition of waffling.

Even Brian Taylor (HARDLY a friend to the SNP) admits that Tavish Scott's claims were not accurate.

"he LibDems say there were 617 non-clinical staff in the NHS in Scotland earning more than £50k in 2007: a total pay bill of £24,860,218. By 2010, that had risen to 1,790 staff and £104,280,982.

The government's statistics division says that in 2007 there were 1,914 individuals listed as senior managers in the NHS. In 2009, that figure had reduced to 1,377. The wage bill figures are for 2007 and 2010 - and are £98m and £102m."

So the number of Senior Managers in the NHS HAVE gone down--very substantially. Yes, the number making more than £50k a year has gone up, but Mr. Scott gave no indication of how much under that they had been making. If it was one pound they were on that list.

I suggest not swallowing LibDem claims quite so blithely. Or have you missed their record as liars?

In this case it isn't QUITE a lie, just a pretty good job of twisting the truth to try to make up the fact that they are about to get slaughtered at the polls.

For lying. "We'll keep the Tories out". As my Scottish friends are wont to say: "Aye, right".

subrosa said...

Oh dear Jeanne, I wrote the post more or less after watching the live programme. The word waffle was pinched from either Brian Taylor himself or Alan Cochrane. Anyway both agreed that Alex Salmond didn't have the answer and should have said so instead of 'waffling'. If I could upload the recording you could read it for yourself.

I didn't go into the figures because I don't have the time. Brian Taylor is a full-time paid political journalist and I would expect him to do so.

It was your hero Mr Taylor and Alan Cochrane who also said Tavish Scott had the best question today. Three of us were wrong.

I'm never taken in my any polticians. I speak as I feel. As I said in the post the remainder of the exchanges were very informative.

subrosa said...

Having just read Brian Taylor's post Jeanne, it's good to know Tavish Scott's figures were challenged by the Scottish government. My post, as I said, was started around 30 minutes after FMQs happened. It was my personal opinion and I was not in the position to question any of the facts or figures stated. I don't have access to these.

Glad to know you're keeping a close eye on events. I counted twice Alex Salmond managed to fit in his 'it's Labour's cuts'. That's what the people need to be told repeatedly.

cynicalHighlander said...

"IT'S LABOUR'S CUTS" Ah that's better. Sorry for shouting but there are an awful lot of people who are hard of hearing.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Believe me, neither Brian Taylor nor Cochrane are heroes of mine. When even Taylor admits the FM is right--you know it's a cold day in hell or else he had no choice. I am hardly surprised at their using the "waffle" word. I just questioned you repeating it.

I suggest being wary of Tavish Scott's claims when he makes them is all and not take them at face value.

You know how I am. I usually keep a close eye on you Scots. It's a tough job but someone has to do it. ;-)

By the way, the al-Megrahi e-petition is still open for signatures for anyone who hasn't done that yet.

Anonymous said...

Good one SR.

I agree with you. It's hard to believe anything any politician says.

I'm glad that the number of highly paid staff is reducing. I had a feeling that with John Swinney in charge of money there would certainly not be an increase.

Tavish seems not to have broken his habit of a lifetime by getting his facts right.

subrosa said...

It's got to be shouted over and over again CH. Do you notice how often Gray returns to the same subject? All part of their system to ensure the words stick in folks' minds.

subrosa said...

I used the word waffle Jeanne because that was the question where, in my opinion, the FM didn't have any answer and seemed to be drifting into spin. It's not like him to do that and I was surprised he just didn't say 'I don't know the numbers but I'll get back to you'. That's the best way to handle these things as Alex Salmond well knows.

It must be a tough job Jeanne. I admire your courage. :) Keep it up.

I think most of my readers have signed it but if not then your note will jog their memories. Are you reading about it on the Scottish Review? If not, do have a look. I think there was an article about it earlier this week.

subrosa said...

Tris, is had a file in front of him thicker than my medical one. You've think he would have at least managed to get his sums right.

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