"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Scottish Parliament - First Minister's Questions (FMQs)

Initially I thought I wouldn't bother writing a summary of today's televised First Minister's Questions then I decided a record was needed.

After a long Christmas break for MSPs, the best the three opposition party leaders could come up with was questions about roads and pavements.

The SNP government are to blame for the weather, particularly according to Iain Gray. 'Why was there no emergency phone line for the vulnerable,' he asked. 'Because the councils want localised telephone enquiries and the numbers are on the government's website,' was the FM's response. Iain Gray, hell bent on blaming Alex Salmond for the freezing conditions in the last three weeks continued on the same theme. As Alan Cochrane said, in his chat with Brian Taylor at the end of the programme, Mr Gray was really flogging a dead horse.

Annabel Goldie didn't perform any better, in fact it could be argued, was worse than the labour leader. 'Why aren't those on community service orders out clearing the pavements,' was her inquiry. They are insisted the FM but, in his usual subtle manner, he reminded her that if the tories had their way there would be no one on community service orders as they'd all be locked up in centrally heated jails. Annabelle walked right into that one I'm afraid.

Tavish Scott questioned the closing of schools. The only blanket closures were in Aberdeenshire and the borders and the FM explained, that was understandable owing to the conditions of the past two days. Over 80% of Scottish schools are open today, that number increasing since Monday.

The opposition were skating on thin ice today by concentrating on weather, roads and pavements. Viewers learned John Swinney worked Christmas and New Year's Day to ensure supplies were getting through and liaising with Pat Watters of COSLA. We also learned that sensible people don't go walking on icy pavements but walk in the cleared road. Let's hope next week is an improvement on question quality.

Possibly Tavish asked the most sensible question but Alex Salmond was the overall winner - by a good few shovels full of salt.


  1. Here in my corner of the Cold White North we just had our first snowfall of any account. Usually we are knee deep by now instead we have a couple of inches. Go figure - must be climate change or something. Interestingly my youngest, who lives in the countryside outside Glasgow, who normally 'phones me at this time of year complaining of the lack of snow is now singing a different tune.

  2. Hi SR - at least Cameron questioned Brown on the economy at this week's PMQs - I don't think he'd have got away with discussing the snow. FMQs sounds as if it was exasperating this week.


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