Parliament: March 2008 Archives

wiglion.jpgSo The Donald (pictured at left) is unhappy at the fact that a public inquiry might take a long time. He has threatened to take the project elsewhere if the inquiry takes too long. Today, too, his representative on earth, George Sorial, one of the most arrogant people ever to appear before a Parliamentary Committee, said:

"Despite the support of the overwhelming majority of local people, there will always be those who have set their faces against this progressive and beneficial project and will refuse to back it. That's their right. But it's crucial that the size of this small but vociferous group of objectors is kept in perspective." (BBC)

In other words, we'll accept any outcome so long as it's what we want. And to hell with the 8000+ petitioners, the 1m+ RSPB members, the community campaigners and the statutory regulator, not to mention the Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group, Buglife, Friends of the Earth Scotland, the John Muir Trust, the Marine Conservation Society, Plantlife, the Ramblers' Association Scotland, the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society, the Scottish Council for National Parks, the Scottish Countryside Rangers' Association, the Scottish Raptor Study Groups, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and WWF Scotland (pdf).

Sure, that's a small group of objectors. Why should any of their views count when Donald's got the money?


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MSPs have a wide range of responsibilities. At 5pm, though, it comes down to being able to press the right button. In a tight parliament of minorities, getting it wrong can have significant consequences. Last night four Liberals, pictured above, got it wrong on a vote on tagging, meaning worse over-crowding in Scotland's prisons. (Herald, Scotsman)

Two other Liberal members who ought to have known better failed to vote at all. Nicol Stephen, the party "leader", no less, and Iain Smith.

People used to ask of politicians if we felt safe with their fingers on the button. Different button, admittedly, but the answer with this lot is a clear no.
redstar.jpgThe SSP and latterly Solidarity didn't often make much contribution to policy debates here, sadly, but they certainly brought a bit of drama from time to time, with protests (see Rosie pictured here in the particularly badly-made cardboard submarine), general fist-waving and walkouts over nothing. Now they're gone, though, and who knows when or if they'll return?

The Liberals appear to have spotted this gap in the market. Mike Rumbles, pictured, flounced out of the Rural Affairs & Environment Committee this morning, accusing Roseanna Cunningham of being "extremely partisan and party political". Hello pot, I've got kettle on line 2.

It looks like a pattern, too, following their walkout at Westminster. Clearly a memo has gone round. One day the electorate will ask them to leave on a more permanent basis, as in Australia, but we'll have to accept temporary relief for now.

Apologies for the apparent bias on this site in the last couple of days. I've got some scathing stuff coming on the SNP, promise.

Absence of a throng

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clegghat.jpgA liberal-inclined source tells me a tale from Aviemore. Apparently Nick Clegg, latest owner of the poisoned chalice, had to ask a speechwriter aide what the word "throng" means. Here's a clue, Nick, it's what you didn't have at your conference, as Calum and others have noted.

Liberals: uncovered

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libdemlogo.jpgDon't be alarmed by the title, there will no nude pics of Ross Finnie, let alone anything worse.. I'm just enjoying Iain Macwhirter's Nicol Stephen/Harry Saxe-Coburg Gotha mashup.

Thanks to Mike at Allmediascotland for bringing this to the attention of his email subscribers. If you're not on his list yet, you should be, and you can sign up here.

Oil wars, round 2

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dolphin.jpgThe Sunday Herald gave a good show to a campaign we're involved in against the massive opening up of Scotland's waters for oil and gas, threatening not just the Moray bottlenose dolphins but also 20+ other cetaceans. Thanks Rob.

Note the Labour Minister's line in the middle of it. Total spin. Still, I think this is a campaign we can win, just like ship-to-ship oil transfers. There's plenty more to come on this front, that's for sure.

Liberals: undefined

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libdemlogo.jpgI admire Brian Taylor's patience and determination. He had to put up with half an hour spent with Nicol Stephen, grilling him on what the Liberal Party's for (clue: nothing). The Liberals' shamelessness was on display on more than one occasion during the interview.

First, Stephen claimed that they had to oppose any referendum on independence because they oppose independence itself. Brian then said (I paraphrase) "but wait, you're pressing for a referendum on leaving the EU". Nicol's response was "ah, but we believe in Europe". The parallel is exact: they believe in the Union too. So why do they not support a referendum there? I make no case for the merits or otherwise of such a vote. Just sayin'.

Second, he claimed that they wouldn't talk to the Nats in May last because the SNP wouldn't drop their call for a referendum. When we contacted the Liberals to ask them down to New St Andrews House it was made clear to them that it was to meet us and discuss working together with the SNP on issues of agreement only, which obviously wouldn't have included a referendum. That was still rejected. 

Anyway, inspired by Brian's patience (and mine) I took the BBC's wee quiz on the Liberals. I scored 7/10, having known about the cheese but not about some of the sport. When the BBC marks scores for these quizzes, they normally say things like:
0-3 Jeremy Thorpe
4-6 Ming Campbell
7-10 William Gladstone

On this occasion I was amused to notice that all the scoring options were simply as shown to the left (click to expand). How fitting.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Parliament category from March 2008.

Parliament: February 2008 is the previous archive.

Parliament: April 2008 is the next archive.