Thursday, 11 November 2010
FMQs 11 November 2010
There couldn't have been many MSPs dozing in the Chamber today. The debate was fast and furious - even humorous at times.
The Scottish Futures Trust and the employment of consultants to quangos were what Iain Gray homed in on today. Good questions from Iain Gray and a good defence from the First Minister. Statistics were bandied about without detail and that can weaken the argument about the use of consultants. What needs to be investigated is the work consultants have done and if it was beneficial to the organisations concerned.
Autonomous schools was Annabel Goldie's subject. She wanted to know why the Scottish Government were so opposed to giving schools independence when it was so pro national independence. The FM said he was open to all suggestions about improving our schools and, although England were looking at the Swedish model, he considered at present the Finnish model was perhaps more appropriate to Scotland. Ms Goldie, at her best, responded, "I realise I'm no competition for Finnish models" - raising much hilarity in the Chamber. She proceeded to state the FM kept his Education Secretary 'on a leash' - to which the FM smartly replied he would 'rather have a Scottish terrier like Mike Russell in charge of education than the lap dogs on the Tory benches."
Tavish Scott must have found it difficult to follow the wit of the previous few minutes, but he did his best highlighting the recent conference NHS Education for Scotland (NES) attended in Miami, courtesy of the tax payer. The FM was able to state the Health Secretary had been in touch with NES asking them to be mindful of the financial climate.
Jamie McGrigor (Conservative) wishes to know what help was being given to Campbeltown with it's recent 'unemployment triple whammy' and he was informed the Enterprise Minister will be meeting with those involved in the next few days.
Stuart McMillan (SNP) asked if community service workers would again be employed this winter clearing snow. Johann Lamont (Labour) wanted a 24-hour help line set up to help older people trapped in their homes by bad weather. The respective answers were yes and no.