Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tavish Scott Should Not Hide From The Truth

Back in March 2007 I wrote on this blog about the Runaway Gravy Train. Part of that post was about Tavish Scott and his property developing. It followed on from George Reid, who was retiring as the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament calling for a radical overhaul of MSPs allowances. This is a part of what I wrote.

The big money fiddle is in the amounts that MSPs can claim for accommodation in Edinburgh. Mr Reid chose to save the taxpayer money by staying in a hotel; many choose to buy second homes in the city.

Tavish Scott, the Transport Minister and Lib Dem, is another that’s climbed aboard the gravy train. He first of all lived in his sister's Edinburgh flat, bought it and then sold it for a profit of over £30,000 Mr. Scott now has a mortgage on a 'substantial' Morningside property that he apparently shares with a BBC journalist. When questioned Mr Scott has used the 'no comment' defence, probably hoping that things will blow over. Why should they? Why should he operate within the letter of the code but clearly sit outside the standards of behaviour that we expect from our MSP's. We have so far paid over £50,000 towards Mr Scott's properties, he's pocketed a decent sum of money, is potentially in line to make more and he can't even be bothered to say anything other than, "I'm not going to comment on anything to do with this."

Fast forward to the Herald on Sunday today.

The Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats was last night refusing to reveal whether he paid capital gains tax (CGT) on the profits made on the first of two taxpayer-funded flats. A spokeswoman for Tavish Scott, who made a £36,000 profit in 2005 after selling a publicly-subsidised property, refused to give an answer on the "private" matter.

Private matter? No it's bloody not it's our money. How can he be so out of tune with the mood of the nation? Just because he's an MSP and a long way from Westminster doesn't mean he can just plead that it's a private matter. In the last Lib-Dem Manifesto it quoted the then leader Nichol Stephen as saying "I want to see the government consultation process reformed...we should give them (the people of Scotland) the facts, meet them face to face, ask their opinion and then tell them the truth." It's hypocrisy - nothing more, nothing less. He, like many of our politicians, has lost sight of what they are there for. It's not self-advancement or anything about self. It's all about service.

It's not about whether or not MSPs have followed the rules, it runs much deeper than that; Tavish Scott is showing contempt for the electorate. Of course he's far from alone and is just one of the 'public servants' who thinks they are better than those they serve.


Anonymous said...

I thought the article went on to have a quote from the spokesman that all taxes HAD been paid. Sounds like you might have been duped by the big headline from the Scottish paper that has decided that it won't cover the Westminster stuff because it's not in Scotland.

Richard Havers said...

Oh no I don't think so.

It said 'The party's press officer said: "Tavish Scott has paid and does pay all taxes due by him." Pressed on whether Scott paid CGT on the flat profits, the spokeswoman declined to go further on his "private" tax affairs. Scott has claimed around £60,000 in mortgage interest payments from the taxpayer since 1999.

That's not quite the same thing is it? And anyway it's not a 'private matter'. Scott has made a profit based on taxpayers money used to be an Edinburgh property. The Lib Dems don't seem to have a moral compass either.