"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, 11 February 2010

FMQs, Scottish Parliament, 11 February 2010

The main opposition questions concentrated on the MSP for Glasgow Govan, Nicola Sturgeon. Ms Sturgeon wrote to a court on behalf of a constituent. The details are here.
For those who don't live in Scotland, or for that matter Scots who live in the east like me, read the west coast dweller Ian MacQuarrie's 'on-the-spot' post to gain an insight into the politics of the area and the reasons why labour are calling for her resignation.
The First Minister strongly supported Ms Sturgeon and reiterated, several times, the Parliament's Code of Conduct for MSPs. It is well within an MSP's remit to write to a court on behalf of a constituent as long as there are no conflicts of interest.
Before today's FMQs I was of the opinion Ms Sturgeon had made an error of judgement. Iain Gray's question to the chamber: 'Hands up any member who has ever written to a court on behalf of a constituent,' receiving not one response made me realise that perhaps it's me who made an error of judgement.
Surely people charged with criminal offences approach their MSPs for advice or help on occasion, yet not one admits to writing to courts on their behalf. Are many of our MSPs being judge and jury instead of undertaking their duties without prejudice and leaving the judiciary to their duties? Iain Gray has exposed a possible flaw in the attitudes of many MSPs.
Nicola Sturgeon broke no rule by writing to the court and it's heartening to know that she is prepared to act for all her constituents. What is concerning is other MSPs don't appear to have ever supported a constituent in this manner. It says far more about them than it does about Ms Sturgeon.
Next week Holyrood is closed for parliamentary business so no FMQs.
You can watch this week's episode at HolyroodTV and it will also shortly be available on the BBC iPlayer.
For those interested in this latest development in Scotland there are some excellent comments at my place plus updated posts.

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