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A job of many parts

Brian Taylor | 18:04 UK time, Wednesday, 11 May 2011

She will be, she says, very much her own woman.

Tricia Marwick, that is - the new presiding officer in Scotland's Parliament.

From me, the very warmest congratulations to the new PO.

She has been a hard-working, dedicated player in Holyrood from the very earliest days - as a list, then constituency MSP, as a committee convener and as a parliamentarian.

She now ascends to an exceptionally challenging job.

Part diplomat, part referee, part boss, part servant of the public, part politician, part social host, part constitutional lawyer.

The PO does much more than hose down excitable MSPs during questions to the First Minister.

She has to ensure the smooth running of parliament - and rule upon whether proposed legislation exceeds devolved powers.

She has to represent Holyrood - and Scotland - to the world: including to the other Holyrood, the palace.

Adding to these challenges, another one was immediately thrust in Tricia Marwick's direction this afternoon. Will she be even-handed?

She has been a forceful advocate for the SNP's cause both inside and outwith Holyrood.

Now she stands down from her party - and has to adjudicate upon MSPs from all strands of opinion.

No problem, she says. She has already carried out such work in parliament's cross-party bodies. She will bring strict neutrality to her new task.

Labour is not directly contesting that - but rather questioning whether the outcome sits comfortably with Alex Salmond's assertion that he intends to involve all sides of the political divide at Holyrood, with his statement that he has a majority - not a monopoly of wisdom.

Nationalists note three points. That this election was a free vote, not whipped.

That David Steel was PO in the first parliament, while his party was in government.

And that Tricia Marwick has a strong record in promoting the interests of parliament, not government.

The new PO told me she will very much stand up for the rights of backbenchers and parliament as a whole.

She also has one more ambition: to engender better behaviour at Holyrood.

Loadsaluck with that one.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.


    Labour say its 'cause for concern', which apart from the failure to offer someone
    better for the job, and the usual negativity, tells you a lot about how they view the PO job.

  • Comment number 2.

    So Labour sets up an institution lays down the rules specifically made to thwart the SNP,they omitted to take the Scottish people into their confidence who went on to beat them at their own game.So now because they arrogantly thought they would always be calling the tune that they had everything sewn up and thats not the case they shout foul
    How they must have chuckled in their smoke filled room at how clever they had been

    It's the Scottish people who are chuckling now as they (Labour) are forced to stand on the sidelines and watch the people grow taller and prosper My heart bleeds for them

  • Comment number 3.

    #138 (previous thread) JRMacClure
    ...Logic doesn't matter. Please don't give me reasoned arguments....

    You agree about Ady's illogicality.

    I'm a bit surprised but thanks.

  • Comment number 4.

    Congratulations Tricia Marwick on being elected as Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

    However, I have some criticism to share. I have no issue regarding our newly elected Presiding Officer but of the sly-attack by Labour. Is Hugh Henry not a controversial MSP to begin with? I understand the role of Presiding Officer is available to all MSPs who seek the role. Let us be fair though, Hugh Henry does not come round as impartial. Do Labour MSPs not have a duty to ensure that the person with merit and perhaps evidence of being above party politics becomes Presiding Officer?

    Did the best person get elected for the role? I believe so.

  • Comment number 5.

    After the last four years of sniping, crowing and obstruction from the British Nationalist Labour Party, I wouldn't trust them with the role of Presiding Officer either.

  • Comment number 6.

    Every PO has shown impartiality no matter what Party they previously belonged to, it is to Labours shame that they behave in this manner and really it says more about them and there thinking processes than it does about anything else. The had no problem with a LibDem PO nor with a Tory one, yet for some reason they think that uniquely the SNP are unable to provide a PO that can carry out their duties in an appropriate manner. They still have not learned the lesson that they no longer have a right to rule. They show no sign of moving away from their agenda of spite and sneer, it does not give encouraging signs for the outcome of there review.

  • Comment number 7.

    Now I don't pay all that much attention to these things. But as far as I was aware, the convention in the House of Commons was that the Speaker there alternated between the government and the opposition.

    First point - the previous PO was sourced from the opposition. And the parliament has never yet had an SNP PO. Therefore it's not a stretch to say that it's the SNP's 'turn'.

    Second point - Labour broke the HoC convention when they elected Michael Martin as the Speaker. So they're hardly in a position to be making accusations.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hopefully, Tricia will silence the braying ranks of the Labour Party who brought such a poor impression of the Scottish Parliament to viewers here and abroad.
    Good luck Tricia!

  • Comment number 9.

    #139 snowthistle
    OldPerson, I take it it costs less to be in the EEA than to be in the EU? So does it boil down to how successful your economy is? i.e. you would join the EU if you hoped to be a net beneficiary and the EEA if you thought you would be a benefactor to the EU

    I also assume it costs less but there is this from Wikipedia The EFTA countries that are part of the EEA do not bear the financial burdens associated with EU membership, although they contribute financially to the European single market. After the EU/EEA enlargement of 2004 there was a tenfold increase in the financial contribution of the EEA States, in particular Norway, to social and economic cohesion in the Internal Market (€1167 million over five years)."

    The reason I would rather the UK was in the EEA is to avoid 'ever closer union'. On the economic profile - it doesn't just depend on how successful your economy is, it also depends on its makeup - how much agriculture; any deprived regions, etc.

  • Comment number 10.

    @4. Tom
    "Hugh Henry does not come round as impartial."

    Scrooge

  • Comment number 11.

    @7. Kurisu
    " And the parliament has never yet had an SNP PO."

    George Reid was the second PO.

  • Comment number 12.

    #7 Kurisu
    Second point - Labour broke the HoC convention when they elected Michael Martin as the Speaker. So they're hardly in a position to be making accusations.

    That's true. It's also true that Labour elected the current HoC speaker over Tory objections even though he was a Tory MP. John Bercow is not popular with a lot of Tories. Too much independent thinking. No major political party likes that. The Tories made that clear but Labour elected him anyway.

  • Comment number 13.

    Perhaps it's time that there were clear rules in place for deciding on a PO. Supposedly it was Labour's turn to provide one, although where that convention came from I'm not sure. Buggins' turn hardly seems the right way to decide.

    Incidentally I've always found it a bit odd that someone who has just been elected has to remove themselves from the political fray and become PO. What of the poor voters that just elected that person, presumably at least in part on the basis of the promises they made? If I had just voted for Tricia Marwick (or any of the previous POs) I'd feel a bit disgruntled that my preferred candidate would not now be doing any of the things she had promised me. I think Margo made a similar point a few days ago.

    Why must it be a sitting MSP that becomes PO? Because that's what happens at Westminster? Perhaps a better solution would be to take one of the group of MSPs that stood down before the election, assuming there were enough willing candidates from that group to give a decent choice? And at 100k a year I venture that there might be a decent amount of interest!

    Best wishes to Tricia Marwick in her new role in any case. In light of her experience I'm sure she'll do a great job and, like a good football referee, never get noticed much.

  • Comment number 14.

    StationX

    Yes, the British Nationalist Labour Party is quite apt!

  • Comment number 15.

    #7
    The SNP have had a PO Labour is the only party that has not had one but in saying that there are norules the post is open to all and remember Labour laid down the rules in the first place it does not suit them to have lost so comprehensively they now shout foul


    They are an arrogant bunch of losers and losers do not get to lay down the rules
    All thet get is to play by the rules as set out by the winners and hopefully learn some humility along the way The Scottish people have outgrown them

  • Comment number 16.

    Oh, dear.


    Have the referendum early, Wee Eck.......

  • Comment number 17.

    11. At 19:20pm 11th May 2011, reincarnation wrote:

    @7. Kurisu
    " And the parliament has never yet had an SNP PO."

    George Reid was the second PO.

    ---

    The Scottish Parliament has never had a Presiding Officer of ANY party!

    Tricia Marwick is no longer an SNP MSP - only upon ceasing to hold her current position would she be eligible to return to that status.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    #8 thankfully there are less of them to bray.

  • Comment number 20.

    I thought Alex Fergusson did a pretty good job as Presiding Officer in the last Parliament. Do we know why he did not run again?

  • Comment number 21.

    #3. At 18:56pm 11th May 2011, OldPerson wrote:

    #138 (previous thread) JRMacClure
    ...Logic doesn't matter. Please don't give me reasoned arguments....

    You agree about Ady's illogicality.

    I'm a bit surprised but thanks.

    -----------------------------------

    If saying your comment was illogical is agreeing with him, so be it, because "I"m English so I think different" is no valid argument for anything.

  • Comment number 22.

    So Maureen Watt crossed her fingers and gave out the words of the oath without meaning them. Last time I'll cast my ballot for her! If she can't take a solemn oath seriously why should I believe a word she says from now on?

  • Comment number 23.

    @13. forfar-loon

    Casting vote?

  • Comment number 24.

    To sum up Labours positions:
    Sore Losers cry Sour Grapes.

    Honestly guys you lost, suck it up and move on.

  • Comment number 25.

    And should also mention that it shows how seriously Labour is taking their pledge to end opposition for opposition's sake. if anything having an SNP PO works to their favour, one less SNP MSP vote to overcome, one more Labour MSP to stay within their depleted ranks, yet still they bleat, moan, and whinge. It is really rather sad.

  • Comment number 26.

    @13. forfar-loon
    "Supposedly it was Labour's turn to provide one, although where that convention came from I'm not sure."

    Partly from posters like me banging on about Labour never having had a PO from their ranks - when I was concerned that SNP and Labour might be neck and neck!!

  • Comment number 27.

    @22. AlasdairRoy

    You know, I'm not 100% sure that you have ever voted for Maureen Watt! :-) Faux outrage is such a boringly common tactic on blogs.

  • Comment number 28.

    Good luck to the new PO.
    It would have been very unfair to select Hugh Henry. He is a conviction Unionist and there will be a lot string-pulling from Westminster as the Route to Referendum begins.
    It would make no sense for any "BritNat" to suffer a crisis of confidence and conscience as the move towards self-determination begins.
    Seems very churlish of New Labour not to accept the will of the Scottish people.
    Perhaps Mr Murphy told them to object as part of Mr Miliband's new controlling of his North British branch?
    Good to see a woman in the role. I'm sure she'll need all her skills at FMQs to keep some of the "yaboos" under control!
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 29.

    The Scottish News carried the story that a 'row was brewing' over the Speaker's position within the Scottish Parliament ! I watched, only to find that there was no 'row' and that Hugh Henry was walking around like a man who had lost a tenner !
    Did he really expect to be sitting in the Speakers chair after the best result that Scotland has had for years ! He was lucky to come second !

  • Comment number 30.

    The NHS in England was being discussed earlier on here. I came across this astounding comment casually tossed in on another blog.

    "In Oxfordshire, the NHS has for some years refused to carry out hernia opeations, except in exceptional circumstances. So one is forced to go private and pay £1,000 or so per operation."

  • Comment number 31.

    Labour has nobody but itself to blame, after the idiot McTernan went on Newsnight to say that there would be no referendum because it wouldn't get past the PO. How could the SNP possibly allow a Labour MSP to take on the post in those circumstances?

  • Comment number 32.

    #23 cheesed-off

    Casting vote?

    I take it you mean that the PO has a casting vote, and as such ought to be an elected representative given the influence they may occasionally exert. It's a fair point, although I gather there is a convention (again, I wonder where it came from...) that means the PO votes for the status quo. I think this happened with a previous SNP budget. The point being that if the PO has no discretion then we might as well remove the casting vote (and therefore the need for the PO to be an elected MSP) - since a majority of at least 1 is required the outcome would be the same wouldn't it, or am I missing something? I guess it's not likely that we'll see many casting votes in the next 5 years though!

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh I think Duncan MacNeil should have been PO...looks out of the window, eek! Lots of blue lights and a big white van. Arghh, they're coming to take me away..runs to hide, giggling madly!

  • Comment number 34.

    @31. Rev_S_Campbell
    "the idiot McTernan"

    As a wonderfully effective adviser in London, he helped bring UK Labour's reputation down.

    Now that he is advising Labour Scotland (who already had a bad reputation) its nice to see that he has honed his skills and brought them even lower.

    A great asset to Scotland is our pal McTernan!

  • Comment number 35.

    evening , 4 years and 2 elections later and they still don't get it!!!
    wake up labour YOU LOST. you are not in power.
    Scotland is no longer your wee playground to do with what you want!
    you have been rejected by a majority of people at the ballet box who have finally ,finally ,seen you for what you are and what you now stand for and it ain't pretty.
    5 years of total negativity, opposition for oppositions sake,against everything but no Ideas of your own.
    umpteen commission's with the Calman commission taking the biscuit and the best thing you could give the Scottish People is the Rancid Scotland bill with all the wee pit falls , small print and the tax traps .
    we have yet to find out what powers you want to hand back to westminster

    it is up to the Scottish government to stand up for the people of Scotland not to meekly toe the westminster line and do as you are told.
    Sid

  • Comment number 36.

    @32. forfar-loon
    " since a majority of at least 1 is required the outcome would be the same wouldn't it"

    A draw! Can't see how that would be ideal for anyone. As having an unelected member to be PO you mean like president of EU no thanks.

  • Comment number 37.

    tricia marwick, good call. we will need smoothness and less rancour in this new

    parliament cut down on the punch and judy element, that dogs westminster, and

    gives politics a bad name. i was pleasantly surprised to see brians interview,

    'gray to stand down in autumn'. i have never seen iain gray so relaxed he never

    winced once, and was so magnanimous towards alex salmond in his victory,that i

    felt sorry for punishing him so severely in my posts.

    well its on to picking new leaders will they be unionist what,s the odds on who they

    will be!

  • Comment number 38.

    #35 sid

    ride on

  • Comment number 39.

    #sp11 under Sainte-Laguë. The Unionist must be losing an awful lot of sleep trying to thwart progress for Scotland.

  • Comment number 40.

    Absolutely hilarious that Labour's Jim Sheridan MP is said to have gone on holiday during the campaign,telling colleagues that the election was "in the bag" and he wouldn't be needed to help out.And now Paisley has an SNP MSP.Just more evidence that most ScotLab MPs(and their LibDem counterparts) live in cloud cuckoo land.Question is,where did he go on his vacation?Montenegro perhaps?Or that place at the southern tip of England.What's it called again?SLab's End.

  • Comment number 41.

    #39 cheesed_off
    "#sp11 under Sainte-Laguë. The Unionist must be losing an awful lot of sleep trying to thwart progress for Scotland."

    Quite so. Re Sainte-Laguë, this morning I posted the following in a place which cannot be named, but it's just as relevant here:

    If I understood Prof. Curtice correctly, he was indeed saying that, unlike the d'Hondt method actually used, his own preferred Sainte Laguë method would have prevented the SNP from gaining so many list seats. What he said in relation to its actual use is for calculating the number of seats to be given to the Scotland "region" in the new reduction in the number of MPs for the 2015 UK general election, if the ConDem coalition lasts that long.

    I really can't see even the ConDem coalition trying to fiddle with the AMS systems for Holyrood and Cardiff Bay, particularly because Sainte Laguë would be fairer to the smaller parties like the Scottish Greens and the SSP rather than helping the three unionist tweedles. In any event, they could hardly do it without changing from d'Hondt to Sainte Laguë for the 2014 Euro elections, which would almost certainly reduce Con, Lab & L-D representation in England at the expense of the E&W Greens, the English Democrats and - horror of horrors - the BNP.

    IMO, Curtice was just stirring it and demonstrating he's a good unionist lapdog to a major income source. More pertinent, and something he will probably raise next is whether the SNP will retain their commitment to STV for a post-independence or devo-max Holyrood? Personally, I hope they will, but I am sure that voices within will wonder how good an idea that is.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hugh Henry?
    A bit uncharitable for the loser to rather Militantly (sic) badmouth the victor in a democratic secret ballot.
    "Strangers in a Strange Land" - the Unionists just don't "get" Scotland in the 21st Century.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 43.

    @41. Barbazenzero
    "#39 cheesed_off
    "#sp11 under Sainte-Laguë. The Unionist must be losing an awful lot of sleep trying to thwart progress for Scotland."
    "

    The mods are showing there paranoia in an irrational way. They must be popping pills by the bucket load.

  • Comment number 44.

    Paxman being patronising and stupid. Seen off by Nicola.

  • Comment number 45.

    It is kind of sad the way Labour are moaning about the new PO appointment. I can see the point of argueing because a particular candidate is not likely to be good at the job for reasons of favouritism or competence, but just because of their political belief is just a bit babyish and just a touch niave.

    As Brian said "She has been a hard-working, dedicated player in Holyrood from the very earliest days - as a list, then constituency MSP, as a committee convener and as a parliamentarian."

    So if I understand the Labour position correctly, they want someone as PO who -
    is not hard working
    is not dedicated to Holyrood
    has little or no parliamentary experience
    has no experience of the committe stages
    and is a poor parliamentarian.

    Seems an odd list of requirements to look for. If I was one of their side who had put my name forward, and they had voted for me, I would be a little bit worried about what they really thought of me.

    Still I suppose it takes all sorts. Maybe the worry from those who voted for someone other than the Labour manny was that he was likely to be easily persuaded to go a certain direction before the debate has even taken place, as in his statement that he would allow the independence vote to go ahead. Maybe it's me but I would want to make sure it was done under the correct rules with all the t's crossed and the i's dotted, rather than get a guarantee before hand. Would hate to win a landslide vote in favour and then be told by some legal process that it had been done in an underhand way and a replay was called for.

  • Comment number 46.

  • Comment number 47.

    Anyone see the travesty of Paxman presentation on independence?
    Well done to Nicola Sturgeon for handling the situation .

  • Comment number 48.

    Newsnight Scotland was interviewing a woman I had never seen tonight ,could someone tell me if she was the cretin who wore team colours to Holyrood?

  • Comment number 49.

    @47. Diabloandco
    "Anyone see the travesty of Paxman presentation on independence?"

    I did. My comment on has not appeared. I used the word "patronising" - but not of Nicola.

  • Comment number 50.

    @48. Diabloandco

    It was Trish Godman - former DPO. She did, indeed, wear a Celtic top on her last day at Holyrood. She was a good DPO, and an intelligent woman. Your description of her was unwarranted.

  • Comment number 51.

    Re 49
    Yes, it was Trish Godwin, now ex member

  • Comment number 52.

    Re 47
    Yes, usual scaremongering and nonsense. they couldn't even pronouce Holyrood, it came out Holeyrood.

  • Comment number 53.

    #47 Diabloandco

    "Anyone see the travesty of Paxman presentation on independence?"
    That's putting it mildly. At first I thought I must have nodded off and missed the start of Newsnicht.

    "Well done to Nicola Sturgeon for handling the situation"
    First class as always. Near the end, Paxo appeared about to set off in full attack dog mode, but the light seemed to click on and, perhaps remembering his last mauling by the FM, he seemed to think better of it.

  • Comment number 54.

    Even his fellow Lib dems think that Moore is a Quisling!

  • Comment number 55.

    To see Paul Martin on television tonight moaning about Tricia Marwick's election as PO was beyond parody.

    We all kent his faither.

    As for the Labour Party candidate, there might have been more votes for him if he hadn't been....eh.... Hugh Henry.

    The SNP wins a majority and hands over the procedural authority to an ex-Trot? Never going to happen, I'm afraid.

    The sight of the "People's Party", which jettisoned everything any of them ever believed in, to get their hands on power at Westminster, being comprehensively thrashed at a Scottish General Election, and then having the temerity to complain when the SNP removes any possibility of being thwarted by a procedural manoeuvre, really has an hilarious quality to it.

    Laugh? I nearly paid my poll tax.

  • Comment number 56.

    Hmmm ... With his hypersensitive olfactory cilia reacting to the most miniscule modicum of momentum - shift in the air, not to mention his long range political antennae endlessly sweeping the airwaves, the jowly caterpillar will be reaching for his aye - ready dismal scientist's calculator to inform this not so straightforward decision (timing of the Referndum) ...

    Three elements are in play that could combine to cause confusion ...

    Firstly, what passes today for the opposition can only become stronger; it is impossible for it to become any weaker (though it could of course remain in stasis) ...

    Secondly, history is against him; no Government anywhere, ever, gets more popular as its time in office accrues; they become lethargic, bereft of ideas, corrupt and increasingly vulnerable (since they are always the target; see first point, above) ...

    Thirdly, the UK economy (stupid) could, despite the best efforts of the Eton after - school club, actually improve; which may increase the attraction of the Union (or at least reignite the argument that we (Scoddland) could not on our own have survived the crisis) ... Also see first and second points above ...

    Having said that, even taken together these putative threats are unlikely to ruffle the feathers of the (self - styled) heather - loving father of the nation; rather they will form notes in the margin of his strategy document, gracefully written no doubt ...

  • Comment number 57.

    #47 diablo

    what i.v being saying all a long about presenters when dealing with scottish affairs

    totally condescending. totally ridiculous questions on independence. that didn't

    require answers. and even when nicola did paxman interrupted and moved on to

    the next. this shows the fear and hatred the english have for the concept of

    scottish devolution and the way the media are going to play this out!

    gordon brewer also tried to ware down linda vabiani over the choice of tricia marwick

    as PO to little effect. no one mentioned camerons jon bercow.forced into early

    retirement! yes the big guns are out for the scots!

  • Comment number 58.

    55 Eddie

    Still, it was nice of the Beeb to give Mr Martin a chance to air his opinion.

    Now we can start the real business of government.

  • Comment number 59.

    Calling Moore a Quisling is an utter insult. Quisling never sold himself so cheaply.

  • Comment number 60.

    22 ALASDAIR ROY: I'm an SNP voter but I thought she looked ridiculous and it was in very bad taste.

  • Comment number 61.

    See Quisling? See the Scotsman headline!

  • Comment number 62.

    II see the site that dare not speak it's name is to become a limited company.

  • Comment number 63.

    What a performance by Michael Kelly! Hilarious. Came over as about clued up as the Krankies and twice as mad. What a diddy. And Nicola slapped Paxman down very effectively. The reaction of English commentators to the SNP victory is very helpful to us indeed

    Nice to see the constitutional expert at the end of Newsnight Scotland comprehensively sinking all the moaning complaints

  • Comment number 64.

    @55. EddieCaulfield
    "The SNP wins a majority"

    Not just that, but this was the most proportional ever in Scotland.

    12 seats were decided over quota in 1999, 11 in 2003, and 5 in 2007. This was due to Labour winning more constituency seats in Glasgow, Lothian, Central Scotland and West Scotland than it’s regional list vote would have entitled it to and the LDs doing the same thing in Highlands & Islands.

    Iin 2011 there was only 1 seat decided over Quota, in Lothian region where the SNPs 8 out of 9 constituencies was 1 more (at the expense of the LDs) than their list vote would have entitled them to.

  • Comment number 65.

    sneckedagain #63
    Alan Trench is not a supporter of Independence but he was the constitutional expert who refused for some time to appear in front of the Scotland Bill Committee in protest at Wendy's treatment of his fellow academics. He seems to be a man of integrity.

  • Comment number 66.

    Re 62
    Gimmae an N..

  • Comment number 67.

    Lesley Riddoch seemed a bit negative about her country. She more or less said that no country has been economicaly better off my becoming independent. So America is still poorer than England then ?

  • Comment number 68.

    Re 66

    and an N . .

  • Comment number 69.

    @68. patrickspens
    and an S...

  • Comment number 70.

    63. At 00:12am 12th May 2011, sneckedagain wrote:

    What a performance by Michael Kelly! Hilarious. Came over as about clued up as the Krankies and twice as mad. What a diddy. And Nicola slapped Paxman down very effectively. The reaction of English commentators to the SNP victory is very helpful to us indeed

    Nice to see the constitutional expert at the end of Newsnight Scotland comprehensively sinking all the moaning complaints

    .............................................................................................
    Agree with you that the Paxman interview, and the introductory video, before the interview with N. Sturgeon was as dirty an attempt to ridicule the SNP as I have seen in a while.

    They don't get it down in London !




  • Comment number 71.

    Re 69

    Let's hear it - NNS

  • Comment number 72.

    @70. callmedave

    What they certainly don't get is the effect of their patronising smiggering. It's unfortunate that the metropolitan UK/English media stirs up hostilities between the people of our countries, fuelled by their own ignorance.

    Earlier this evening I caught a bit of a "comedy" programme on Radio 4. That it wasn't humorous was bad enough, but that people speaking in "estuarine whine" deriding Geordies or folk from the Midlands was thought to be funny by the scriptwriters and producers I found amazing.

    Not only does the SE of England not "get" us, they don't even "get" the other regions of England.
    They

  • Comment number 73.

    Pre-election, I understand Labour were offered the PO position but refused it.

    Post election, Labour want the PO position with various Labour members suggesting this is a means of preventing the passage of the independence referendum.

    No more than 68 of the 73 votes for Tricia Marwick could have come from the SNP, who else voted for her and why. Did Christine Graham have a vote? Maybe 6 non-SNP members, at least, voted for Marwick.

    Lastly, if Labour saw this as such an important principle, why did Labour in Wales vote in one of their own when they had a near majority? It doesn't matter that it wasn't a majority, if it was such an important principle they should have allowed someone from another party in.

  • Comment number 74.

    #56 The Concept of Mind

    I agree with your last point, but the areas of confusion yiou mention are, at best, debatable.

    1) It's impossible for the opposition to become any weaker - I disagree.

    Labour have become weaker with each failed leader that they have appointed. This in itself has reduced their options for replacement, but the large number of MSPs (mostly the most experienced) and the decimation of some of their most experienced MSPs in the election itself has left them in a perilous state. Add to that the continued self-destructive decisions of Milliband and London Labour to take much greater control of Scottish Labour, and it appears that they are a long way from reaching the end of their decline.

    Lib Dems - With only 5 MSPs left, one of which has resigned as leader, and one of their new additions being favourite for leader, they have little room for manouevre over the next 5 years.

    Conservatives - I think the Coservatives will be the best organised of the opposition parties, but they are still caught sitting on the fence between the division in their own party about how to respond to the referendum debate. And however much they want to act they cannot until David Cameron makes up his mind, which appears to be to allow the Scottish Government to do the running.

    Collectively, and individually, the opposition is weaker than it was before the election. They now face a much stronger government with a majority that will allow it to perform at a level that it was denied.

    2. No government gets more popular over time.

    This is clearly not true, as the SNP has dramatically increased it votes after 4 years in government. While we might guess that this is a high watermark that can never be achieved again, what if the minimum alcol policy demonstrates clear positive results (less deaths and lower crime) before the next election, and if the 100% renewable target for 2020 is substantially on track, and if they secure real concessions from Westminster, and they continue to find ways to balance the budgets? The may well have another landslide in 5 years time.

    3. Economy

    The more powers that are devolved to Scotland, the more that Scotland's economy will be determined by Holyrood, and Holyrood will be seen by the public to have become enhanced not by the generosity of Westminster, but by the assertiveness of the SNP.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    How intersting ,my comment about people using their intelligence and a little respect NOT to wear team colours - any team colours - while in Holyrood appears to have offended a moderator .
    Well Mr/Ms Moderator ,I find the wearing of team colours in my Parliament utterly offensive ,and utterly infra dig.

  • Comment number 77.

    #21 JRMacClure
    If saying your comment was illogical is agreeing with him, so be it, because "I"m English so I think different" is no valid argument for anything.

    Ady said he was Scottish so he thought differently and it appears that logic was therefore not an issue for him so you actually disagree with him. Go back and read the relevant posts all of the way through and you'll understand.

    The source of this was there appears to be an acceptance by many people here that the Tories want to destroy the NHS with no evidence for it whatever.

    So if I say the SNP want to destroy the NHS - because I'm English and we think differently, which was Ady's argument - is that ok ?

  • Comment number 78.

    #30 reincarnation
    The NHS in England was being discussed earlier on here. I came across this astounding comment casually tossed in on another blog.

    "In Oxfordshire, the NHS has for some years refused to carry out hernia opeations, except in exceptional circumstances. So one is forced to go private and pay £1,000 or so per operation."


    Labour's obviously been doing its usual Tory-smearing in Scotland and you suck it up. It's all about this story (sorry it's the Daily Mail but you started the propaganda)

  • Comment number 79.

    Brian, your blog does seem to attract the petty nationalists like a lamp at twilight.

    All there to push a 'wrap the flag' mentality to all things, including the election of a decent women to the PO position.

    I expect we'll see more of their vitriol in the coming years- a referendum in my book can only come sooner!

  • Comment number 80.

    Labour have only themselves to blame. In 2007 in was a struggle to get a Presiding Officer. They could have got someone in then and had the advantage of being the incumbent. No Labour played a short term game (and got nowhere).

    It is high time that Labour realised that bickering is not a game plan. Labour need a vision thing that involves thinking out of the box - can their present crop of MSPs a lot of whom strike me as from the unionised council type environment do that?

  • Comment number 81.

    Actually I thought Sturgeon was very poor on Newsnight. She had a perfectly good answer to Paxman's questions - "This is something that isn't going to happen for five or six years yet, so it's silly to commit to any particular position at this stage, especially with regard to something as variable as currency" - but while she did eventually just about manage to get it out, she preceded it with what felt like hours of empty politician waffle every time, which just came across as avoiding the questions. She sounded like she was reading from a script rather than paying attention to anything Paxman actually said.

    As for Och Aye The Newsnight, *everyone* was rubbish on that. The prerecorded segment was laughable, Brewer (normally so sharp) didn't ask Linda Fabiani the right questions (eg "Was the vote whipped?"), and Fabiani completely failed to make any relevant points.

    She could have noted Labour's bucking of convention when electing Michael Martin to Speaker at Westminster, which was a far more apt comparison than the one about David Steel being PO. And when she was TWICE asked by Trish Godman what the SNP had to be scared of, she failed to give the answer that would have been both honest and extremely powerful and put Godman on the back foot - namely, pointing out John McTernan's claim on the same programme that the PO would block the independence referendum.

    Godman wasn't much cop either, but Fabiani gave her a very easy ride.

  • Comment number 82.

    And so the political scene changes significantly, whilst the state broadcaster continues in its role, but with much more interest in Scottish affairs from a London feart of dwindling funding from either our revenues or our licence fees.

    Paxman was appalling last night, more intent on soundbites about armed forces and seats at NATO, than learning about the right of our people to state their wishes, even if that is the status quo.

    And locally we are subjected to ludicrous interviews on the appointment of the presiding officer, and the scaremongering about the impact of a government with a majority that should not have been possible is ramped up by the day.

    Carry on BBC, you played a significant role in galvanising the people into action, to increasing party membership and providing funding, to increased votes at the ballot box. Carry on as you are and independence is a racing certainty.

  • Comment number 83.

    #74 dmac
    it is constructive posts like yours that will help scottish devolution through to its

    final conclusion. as was seen on last nights news night, the SNP will have to spell

    out clearly from an early stage the advantages of independence ,before the media

    get the advantage with propaganda and spin. bearing in mind to keep the good bits

    up their sleeve till nearer the referendum!

  • Comment number 84.

    Rev #81,
    Would have to say that I agree with pretty much all of your post.

  • Comment number 85.

    It's now being reported that moves are afoot among Scottish Lib Dems to remove Faust Minister of Scotland Michael Moore.

  • Comment number 86.

    Re #67 contribution...is Lesley Riddoch Scottish...maybe so but, she has a distinct Irish accent! I don´t know her history.
    So much sour grapes from Labour candidate over the PO election...couldn´t even take it in a sporting manner.
    Glasgow councillors...now come home to roost...SNP admin. gives you money for teachers then you "prioritise" elsewhere and blame SNP for shortages...folk are not as daft as you lot!

  • Comment number 87.

    I see BBBC QT is coming from gaol ,perhaps they could leave it there?

  • Comment number 88.

    The election of Presiding Officer is on a free vote, and there was nothing whatsoever untoward about yesterday’s proceedings.

    All previous holders of the position have discharged their duties admirably, and we have every reason to expect that Tricia Marwick will also be a credit to the role.

    However, what seems to have been brushed aside here by those with their noses out of joint is that the role is strictly and completely impartial, and that the incumbent relinquishes all party affiliation and membership.
    The notion, therefore, that the ‘party colours’ of a Presiding Officer can 'balance' the distribution of powers in the Parliament is therefore flawed and frankly contrived.

    Not for the first time, and just as we typically see during successive election campaigns, it is the corrosive distrust and self-interest of Labour which is once again threatening to drag our Parliament’s reputation through the mud, rather than any hint of impropriety on the part of others.

  • Comment number 89.

    85. At 10:09am 12th May 2011, big_yellow_tracts_ay wrote:
    "It's now being reported that moves are afoot among Scottish Lib Dems to remove Faust Minister of Scotland Michael Moore."

    Getting rid of him and the other turncoat, Danny Alexander, would go a long way to improving the libdems standing in Scotland. Maybe.

  • Comment number 90.

    The UK is going to the dogs now anyway, so with a future of cutbacks and uncertainty ahead of us the least worst option, i.e. the best way forward, is to have complete control of our own affairs.

    If England wants a Tory future then getting the heck out of it asap and saving what we can of the good smart British systems, NHS, public water, public education etc is a high priority for our entire society.

    I don't envy those poor folk down South. The Tories are running out of people to steal from.

  • Comment number 91.

    Alex doesn't really need to do anything about independence for Scotland as the English will do all he talking thereby convincing the doubters who are left in Scotland that we can go it alone.

  • Comment number 92.

    There has been a lot of talk about the difference of cultures between Scotland and England, and their governance. Some have said that there is no real difference.

    However, there was an article on last night's national news that, to me, highlights one of the fundamental differences between the two. The article was about a demonstration in Parliament Square by disabled people. They were demonstrating against the Tory cuts which are making many of their lives at least difficult if not impossible.

    To my "Scottish" mind people with disabilities should never have to be in a position of having to protest about government cuts and the devastating effect they are having on these people's lives. This, to me, is something that should not be having to take place in a civilised, caring society.

    The fact that the demonstration was taking place at all simply highlighted to me how wrong the westminster government is, and why we are better rid of it completely.

  • Comment number 93.

    Good luck to her - I hope she does a good job. The previous Presiding Officer did not do a good job. The PO's main job during FMQs is to ensure that the questions are fair and that the FM answers the question. On the first point he was diligent, on the second point, he was far too lenient! The fact that she is from the same party as the FM does not bode well. I sincerely hope that she holds to the standards of impartiality and holds the FM to account. An even more crucial job when there is a majority government.

  • Comment number 94.

    Although the LibDems are not happy with Moore and Alexander - they'll not shift them. The best thing the Scottish Liberals could do is split from the pre-Blair "Democrat" section of their alliance.
    Whether they then come across to the SNP or create a new wee pro-Scottish Party, would be up to them.
    The old Scottish Liberal part of the LibDems lost out in all the power struggles with Dr David Owen's right wing mob. A bit like New Labour, they really find it hard to define what it is that they believe in any more.
    Slainte Mhor

  • Comment number 95.

    RE #81 Rev_S_Campbell
    I don't agree with your assertion that a reference to Labour did in Westminster would have been relevent in Lida Fabiani's answer. That happened in Westminster, what she talked about happened in Holyrood.

    Re #86 & #67 Here's what wikileaks say
    Lesley Riddoch was born in England in 1963, spent her childhood in Belfast then moved to Glasgow in 1973 where she attended a local fee-paying public school. In 1978 she attended the University of Oxford and graduated with an honours degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She was also elected president of the student union in 1981, although she was neither the university's first female president nor its first non-Conservative president[1] as she has sometimes claimed.[2][3] After graduating she studied for a postgraduate diploma in journalism at Cardiff University.

  • Comment number 96.

    #92 X_Sticks
    To my "Scottish" mind people with disabilities should never have to be in a position of having to protest about government cuts and the devastating effect they are having on these people's lives.

    They are demonstrating mostly about being assessed to see whether they have a disability. According to this there are 7 million disabled people in the UK. Do you think all of them should have disability allowances or do you think that should be assessed ?

  • Comment number 97.

    Labour's gripe regarding the election of Tricia Marwick as the Presiding Officer is simply GREEN CHEESE.

    The only thing that the Labour Party - and the Conservatives and Liberals too - are interested in is POWER. None could not care less about the people of Scotland as can be seen since the formation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and since the early 20th Century in Westminster when the Labour Party was formed. Before that it was the Conservatives and Liberals. Scotland was a back water only fit for supplying bodies for the English Wars and screwing for as much tax as Westminster could wring out of us.

    We were sold down the river (for about £10,000) by a small number of "landed gentry" who preferred to living in the bars and brothels of London Town. The one who got the most was the Duke of Argyll. We should pay the £10,00 back to the English Parliament and tell them to "sod off".

  • Comment number 98.

    #30 reincarnation
    The NHS in England was being discussed earlier on here. I came across this astounding comment casually tossed in on another blog.

    The change is in the wake of recent American research that showed monitoring patients, instead of them having immediate elective surgery, did not raise the risk of a strangulated hernia.

    Furthermore, there can be debilitating side-effects.


    …that’s debilitating side-effects from having the operation. That’s why they’re not doing the operations. It was a medical decision.

  • Comment number 99.

    #90 Ady
    The UK is going to the dogs now anyway, so with a future of cutbacks and uncertainty ahead of us the least worst option, i.e. the best way forward, is to have complete control of our own affairs.

    If England wants a Tory future then getting the heck out of it asap and saving what we can of the good smart British systems, NHS, public water, public education etc is a high priority for our entire society.


    I agree. Bring on Scottish independence. Although I'm not sure what exactly is 'going to the dogs' in the UK ? We are one of the richest countries in the world with one of the best social systems.

  • Comment number 100.

    #90 Ady
    I don't envy those poor folk down South. The Tories are running out of people to steal from.

    On Scottish independence - I think the SNP have the timing right and I hope it works.

    On the pity for England. Spare me. You're are fed and feeding propaganda - particularly, it seems, on the NHS.

 

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