At First Ministers questions this week Ruth Davidson goes with funding for the education attainment gap. Apparently the £750 million of funding allocated for the life of the Parliament should have been spent by now. It did however give the Tory leader the opportunity to pretend she was progressive, no doubt leaving her core voters wondering why they bother to spend so much on school fees in order to ensure that the attainment gap is maintained, at least for their immediate family.
Richard Leonard decided to go with the same subject as last week in order to underline the fact he has no idea what powers are and are not devolved to Holyrood. He also gave the first Minister the opportunity once again to ask him to support more powers being devolved from Westminster to the Scottish parliament, an opportunity she seems determined to offer at each and every first ministers questions.
Both Patrick Harvey and Willie Rennie had the opportunity to ask questions this week. Willie Rennie went with the upcoming First Minister’s visit to China, asking her if she would raise the question of human rights. Most noticeable about Mr Rennie’s question was the venom of its delivery, whether this was due to the content of the question or his dislike of the first Minister is anybody’s guess.
Patrick Harvie of the Greens went with a green question. Patrick asked if the first Minister was happy about the targets of the Glasgow City Council clean air proposals. He wasn’t, the first Minister was. So no real surprise there.
A fishing question was eventually asked by Stewart Stevenson who did appear to be quite upset about the whole Tory betrayal thing.
There were no questions about the continuity bill, no doubt MSPs think the subject has been done to death in recent days.
Quite a fun first ministers questions this week if only for the two main opposition parties display of hypocrisy and ignorance.
Constitutional scholar, constitutional design advisor, author of ‘A Model Constitution for Scotland’.
Anti BBC Bias demonstration.
“Many are concerned about the behaviour of the BBC in relation to the allegedly biased and distorted depiction of the Leader of the Opposition.
My argument, as is often the case, is that these acts are symptomatic of something deeper – a failure of rules, institutions, and governance structures to promote integrity, transparency and fairness.
Let’s look at the BBC’s governance structure:
1. Its Royal Charter is issued by the Government, and can be written and re-written at will. 2. Its Board is appointed by the Tory Government, and several of the Governors have links to the Tory party. 3. It is overseen by a parliamentary committee with a Tory majority. 4. Its budget is set by Parliament, in which there is a Tory-DUP majority. 5. Because we don’t have any constitutional principles to uphold, in the form of an explicit written constitution, matters such as respect for the Leader of the Opposition depend purely on conventions that the Government can choose to apply or not according to their whim.
Given this structure and these rules, it should not surprise us that the BBC acts as it does. Its foundation being ill-constituted, its conduct is predictably ill-judged.
It would be more of a miracle if, despite this set up, the BBC managed to maintain impartiality.
A rather interesting first Minister’s question time today, Ruth Davidson opening for the Tories with a question on Russia, foreign affairs, a reserved matter for Westminster. Then continuing with questions about Russia today which is licensed by Ofcom again, broadcasting, an area reserved to the Westminster government. Although full credit should be given to Ruth for managing to make insinuations about a certain persons, certain show without naming the certain person.
Hard on Ruth’s jackboot heels came Richard ‘who IS he’? Leonard, he’s the new Scottish branch the Labour Party leader incidentally, with a question on employment law. Yes you guessed it an area of law reserved to Westminster. Richard is new to Holyrood so perhaps he had no idea that Labour has resisted the devolution of employment law to the Scottish parliament since that Parliament’s inception maybe some of the older Labour MSP’s could remind him before he steps into oblivion.
Willie Rennie in an audacious move then actually asked a question that pertained to powers held at the Scottish parliament, unfortunately it was yet another question about mental health a favourite of Willie’s. I’m beginning to think Willie should take some responsibility for the rise in suicide rates in Scotland as I for one have been driven to despair by his repeated questioning on this subject. He may one day realise what the expression ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day actually means’.
The real highlight of the day was a question from Claudia Beamish on the soon-to-be enacted law on land reform and the various registers to be created regarding land ownership. Andy Whiteman, this being a subject close to his heart, questioned whether the legislation went far enough pointing out that much of the information he had hoped would be in the public domain is still being redacted from the information being handed out.
All in all not a bad first ministers questions with a lot of subjects covered as will be obvious from the discussion below.
Not the most riveting of first Minister’s questions today.
Ruth Davidson went with the shortage of GPs banging on about a lack of planning, Nicholas Sturgeon simply pointed out to that things down south under a Tory government are worse, hardly inspiring.
Richard Leonard went with benefits and frankly left me more confused than enlightened I’m not sure whether he was asking for benefits to go only to the mums or he wanted them split between parents. There was very little explanation for the general public from him on the issue.
Patrick Harvey went with the Scottish youth Theatre’s lack of funding this year and asked Ms Sturgeon if she could possibly do something about it.
Jenny Mara pointed out that Tayside NHS is having funding problems, and would the Scottish government please give them some money, Nicola replied of course they would.
There were questions about the lack of prosecution of revenge porn accusations, the difficulty small business had with the present format of the apprenticeship scheme, and Murdo Fraser asked a question about kid safety online, were the guidelines and training being kept up-to-date.
Perhaps the highlight today was Mr Sarwar of labour kind of may be apologising for a mistake in reading some statistics about stop and search in regard to racial bias.
The final questions were in regard to the Scottish police authority from Liam MacArthur of the Liberal Democrats was it fit for purpose lame care of the Tories had a wee pop and finally Stewart Stevenson of the SNP weighed in as well the last two subjects were probably the most interesting brought up today.
The politicians gathered in Edinburgh to debate (AKA bang their gums) in spite of the RED SNOW weather warning which cautions EVERYONE to avoid unnecessary travel. The First Minister even had the nerve to scold haulage companies for blocking key roads with unnecessary journeys by heavy goods vehicles which then got stuck.
Ruth Davidson (Tory) challenged the FM about another new investment bank announcement.
The FM said it was “VERY DIFFERENT”. Then followed an exchange about Scottish exports.
Richard Leonard (Labour) was concerned about the health of rough sleepers as one had died recently near the Parliament. The FM said that Scotland had very strong homeless rights. RL wanted a counting system like London to measure the situation. The FM agreed. RL wanted a ban on Winter evictions as in France and the FM agreed.
Patrick Harvie (Green) was concerned that employees should not be forced to work in extreme weather.
Willie Rennie (LibDem) supported University lecturers striking for better pensions.