Monday 2 November 2009

Poppy Wreaths on Expenses? Wrong Decision from the Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament's Corporate Body (SPCB) has decided that where an MSP is representing the Scottish Parliament, payment for a Remembrance Sunday wreath is a legitimate expense and the cost can be claimed through the Members' expenses scheme.

The SPCB comprises of an MSP from each of the four main Scottish parties and Holyrood's residing officer, Alex Ferguson.

This is a bad decision and I would ask the SPCB to reconsider. What on earth are they thinking? At times I despair at the thoughtless actions of our political representatives.

Neil Griffiths of the Royal British Legion Scotland, said wreaths cost about £16. Even if an MSP attended 6 services, the cost would only be £96. The current basic salary of an MSP is £53,091, plus expenses.

If a member of the Scottish Parliament cannot make a contribution in this way towards the care of our troops, then they really shouldn't be representing the people. I for one will be watching the publication of MSP's November expenses very carefully.

Udated Editor's Note: The present members of the Scottish Parliament's Corporate Body, responsible for this decision, are Tricia Marwick (SNP), Mike Pringle (LibDem), Alex Johnstone (Conservative), Tom McCabe (Labour) and presiding officer Alex Fergusson (Conservative).

Thanks to leg-iron for highlighting this matter.


JRB said...

Subrosa, I’m 100% behind you on this one.

Even in a corrupt and debased Westminster such an expense would be outlawed.

Shame on you Holyrood.

Have made similar comment over at my wee place. Between us all maybe our MSPs might get the message.

subrosa said...

Morning John, now there's an idea. I hope the whole of the Scottish blogosphere picks this one up and wakens the SP.

Anonymous said...

What a disgrace, they represent us all so surely £16 is a small price to pay for remembering our war dead.

Shame on the MSP's who will claim and it will be on the expenses website!!

subrosa said...

Spook, spread this around please. It really should be revoked.

Oldrightie said...

Once a trougher now a politician. Seems they really are all the same.

brownlie said...


The SNP have said that all their MSPs will pay for their own wreaths. Iain Gray has said that politicians should pay for their own wreaths but that it was a matter for individuals.

Nikostratos said...

Tell you what we wont bother with the msps and just ask an ordinary member from each politcal party..and i am sure they will not even dream of asking for the cost of the wreath

you gotta wonder what is in thier tiny little thing is for sure the aint got a heart

subrosa said...

They are indeed OR but this has to be rescinded.

subrosa said...

Brownlie, I haven't seen any evidence of that, sorry.

But that's not the point is it? The point is that it is now part of the expenses rules that wreathes can be claimed.

That's what needs attention.

subrosa said...

Don't know about not having hearts Niko, but they certainly don't have any common sense.

This was an all party decision and the people on the SPCB should be ashamed of themselves.

I'm off to see if I can find who is on this Corporate body.

Anonymous said...

Subrosa, have done!!!

Anonymous said...

brownlie said...

The SNP have said that all their MSPs will pay for their own wreaths. Iain Gray has said that politicians should pay for their own wreaths but that it was a matter for individuals.

I think the damage has already been done brownlie. Just having the right to claim this expense is just plain wrong but at least the SNP have taken a step in the right direction.

subrosa said...

Thanks Spook.

brownlie said...


Okay then, perhaps you'll believe the article in the non-SNP-friendly Daily Record.

subrosa said...

Brownlie, you're missing my point.

This should NOT be left to the personal choice of MSPs. The rule that wreathes can be claimed for should be deleted from the expenses rule book. Nothing less will satisfy me.

brownlie said...


As you appeared to be doubting the authenticity of my previous comment I was merely pointing out what I'd read in the paper.

Personally, when politicians everywhere seem to be filling their pockets, I am quite happy and, indeed, feel privileged that my taxes are being used to honour those who gave their lives for their country.

subrosa said...

Brownlie, it's more than my life's worth to doubt you, you know that. :)

I said what I did because, if I had read anything like that, I would have included it in the post and given it the scorn it deserved.

Ah well, you're entitled to your opinion. Pity they didn't return my taxes so as I could buy a few wreaths isn't it?

What's so special about politicians have the likes of me pay for wreaths they lay when there are thousands of veterans who can't even afford one to pay respect to their dead friends?

We have different priorities in this brownlie.

I would much rather see a lump some of my taxes going to the British Legion who could supply these old guys and gals with a wreath which they could proudly carry to the memorial service they're sure to attend.

Administrator said...

I'm with Brownlie on this, I'd rather our money went on them representing our communal grief at the commemorations.

Also six invites is probably a minimum number of Remembrance invitations. My sons are in the ATC and are usually part of an honour guard for at least a dozen ceremonies over the Remembrance weekend.

I've witnessed politicians of all stripes placing poppy wreaths at all of these ceremonies.

subrosa said...

I said 6 Monty because that's the number a senior military officer said most of them attend over the weekend.

By the way every military person pays for their wreath out of their own pocket with the exception of the Chief of Staff when he lays one at the Cenotaph.

The CO, or assigned deputy of the ATC places a wreath, not each individual trainee. Knowing a couple of ex-ATC members myself, I'm informed neither attended more than 8 services over the weekend in any of the 4 years of uni. Mind you things may have changed as more war dead brings the fact the military exists, to the conscience of many. I've attended many ATC attended services myself.

May I suggest that Brownlie and yourself go and visit some elderly veterans (the British Legion would organise something I'm sure) and see the poverty some live in. Yet, these proud people turn up at Remembrance services, shoes shined, medals polished and suit (one I know wears a blazer and flannels which are 40 years old) brushed nearly threadbare.

Many of these people are far too proud to ask for financial assistance and struggle through living a frugal life. They would be delighted if someone gave them a gift of £16 to buy a wreath to place in memory of their dead colleagues.

I'd much rather my money was spent for these men and women who wanted to attend a ceremony, rather than a politician who feels obliged to do so.

Then we're all different. Life experiences make us that way. I know the debt I owe the military. I don't need a politician to represent me at one of these services, I'd much prefer it to be a veteran if I couldn't attend myself.

brownlie said...


I, more than most, am aware of the debt we owe to service personnel and I must say I'm a tad uncomfortable with your implication that I am unaware of, and somehow lack sympathy for, the dire straits that ex-servicemen live in. I am familiar with their circumstances both in my personal and professional life.

Administrator said...

Interesting tact Rosa. I don't need to visit veterans, to rekindle some supposed lost appreciation. Having family members who served and memories of one who survived Treblinka, I don't need a trip to remind me of the needless loss of life that went before me and continues today

If politicians were to pay, would you object if rather than go along with the herd they opted to lay a wreath of white poppies?

subrosa said...

In that case Brownlie, I'm surprised you prefer to give taxpayers money to politicians to buy wreaths rather than make any other suggestion. Mine was that the SP gave a sum to the British Legion for them to distribute to poorly off veterans, what's yours?

Ah yes, you agree that MSP should be permitted to claim for these on expenses. I really find it offensive that this ruling has come into force, as you can gather.

subrosa said...

It's not a tact Monty, I'm angry that anyone can support a rule such as this in our Parliament. It's morally wrong that Remembrance Day wreaths are included in the list of suitable items which can be reclaimed. For goodness sake, our MSPs are in the top 10% of earners and that's without those who have extra payments as holders of certain offices.

I have no comment about people who prefer white poppies and if politicians decided that's what they wanted to use, having purchased them with from their own earnings, it's their choice.

For goodness sake it's just £16 a wreath, but to many of these veterans that can be a week's meals. To an MSP it's not even one main course.

Brownlie says many aren't going to claim and that's all well and good. But in years to come, when politicians move on and others take their place, will such honourable actions continue?

I won't hold my breath.

Key bored warrior. said...

Rosie as an ex squaddie and father of a serving officer i agree with you.

The expenses system is out of order. These greedy grabbing shits should get a basic wage that reflects the average wage of their constituents and nothing more. They should be made to endure the exact same conditions of service that we plebs have to.

If that means they all resign then good bloody riddance to them. There are plenty intelligent people in the country that would be glad of a good salary, and nothing else.

subrosa said...

You're coming from a similar stance to mine KBW.

Thanks for your comment.

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