Thursday, 20 January 2011
FMQs 20 January 2011
The Scottish government were caught red-handed doctoring evidence on Scotland's future claimed Iain Gray, the leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament claimed in his first question. The FM responded by explaining the grammatical applications of 'square' brackets, but Mr Gray found that unacceptable and continued his questioning of the evidence given to the committee investigating the Scotland Bill. Alex Salmond stated the independent academics stood by their analysis accused the committee of refusing to examine the evidence. The committee had found the evidence wanting replied the FM.
Then Mr Gray became personal by accusing Mr Salmon, when a boy soprano, of exaggerating his range of four octaves because Pavarotti's range was only two. What that has to do with governing Scotland defeats me. Let me inform Mr Gray that is not an unusual range for a boy soprano and he really ought to do his homework more carefully. In fact he'd do much better at FMQs if he attempted to write his own script. Let me amend that comment and say he may do...
Alex Salmond's broadcast on the popular programme Desert Island Discs wasn't ignored. Did Mr Gray seem rather petulant? I shouldn't think there is an invitation in the post.
It was difficult to dissociate the jokes, posturing and party politicing from the serious points of Mr Gray's questions. Then again, it could be there were no serious points. The only one relevant to the country was Mr Salmond's announcement of 150 green jobs for Glasgow and the prospect of hundreds more.
Ms Goldie, for the Tories, centred on the Salmond Supertax, which is sending out the message to business that if they grow and are successful the SNP will punish them with a super tax. When faced with difficult economic conditions it is entirely reasonable to look at efficient ways of raising revenue to protect services was the FM's answer. He added it was reasonable to ask those with the broadest shoulders to pay their fair share. It was a reasonable question from Ms Goldie but also a reasoned response from the FM.
Tavish Scott returned to one of his old hobby horses high public sector pay, which he says has gone up £53 million in the last year. The FM agreed and explained that was why the Scottish government was proposing a public sector pay freeze for those earning more than £21,000 a year.
The SNP MSP Ian McKee wanted to know what economic impact the UK government's paternity proposal would be on Scotland's economy. Alex Salmond welcomed the proposals although he admitted there would be an impact but that supporting parents is one of the pillars of the early years strategy and fathers being able to spend more time with their children is welcome.
The Tory MSP John Scott asked what action was being taken about fish discards to be told that the Catch Quota System is designed to help reduce them. Maureen Watt also queried fish discards to be told by the FM that land-locked EU states have more say in fisheries negotiations than Scotland currently does.
Margo MacDonald (Independent) suggested to the FM that if Scotland was getting such a bad deal from the EU regarding one of its main industries, wasn't it time he considered leaving the EU. Alex Salmond disagreed with that proposal.
I will upload a video of the session as soon as it is available.