Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Exactly Why Do MSPs Get Paid?

Supper's ready said Mrs H in a voice redolent of Peter Gabriel and Genesis. A visit to the dentists with nothing much more than a spot of cleaning had me perfectly in the mood for some piazza, salad and a nice single malt. As an accompaniment we tuned into BBC Scotland's news – a privilege denied to most of you I suspect. One of the main items on the news was a piece on council budgets and a debate in the Scottish Parliament - the numptorium, as it's unaffectionately known to many. Clearly this issue is of major importance as there are likely to be some serious job losses and some real negative effects on local economies, particularly in rural areas. The Camera is tight in on John Swinney who is waxing lyrical, as only he can, on the numbers game that is the devolved Scottish budget. Camera pulls back to reveal an almost empty chamber, maybe a dozen MSPs of various political persuasions, but precious few of any one party.

So precisely why do they get paid? Obviously it's not to turn up for work like the rest of us. Wasn't there a load of hubris back in the early days of the parliament suggesting that the Scottish version would be much better than the London one, with MSPs being attentive and attending? You wonder what it is they do? I know I should be much less surprised but it would be nice to think that they did their jobs a little better. Then again perhaps the whole charade of the debate is just a waste of time and they might as well not bother.

7 comments:

JPJ2 said...

You clearly don't view Westminster debates very often as a cursory glance would tell you that a far smaller percentage of Westminster MPs attend than do MSPs at Holyrood.

If you want money to be saved, the better question would be to ask what on earth are we doing paying for MPs whose postbags and therefore workloads are miniscule compared to MSPs as so much of what worries their constituents is now devolved.

Richard Havers said...

Ah, I had no idea that the poor MSPs were so over worked! The fact is the Scottish Parliament proudly boasted that there would be fewer hours scheduled in the chamber so attendance could be better. I'm well aware of the shambles that is the Westminster chamber, which doesn't make the lack of attendance at Holyrood right.

JPJ2 said...

Glad to have enlightened you, Richard-but what I have said is true-MPs are the currently the overpaid unnecesssary extra, not MSPs.

Richard Havers said...

Ah JPJ2, I seed we fundamentally disagree on this...I think Holyrood is the the thing to go :)

JPJ2 said...

Fortunately from my perspective you are most unlikely to have your wish fulfilled.

Though it may be whispered by some Tories about how they would like to abolish Holyrood, no one of consequence in the unionist parties is ever going to campaign actively to do away with Holyrood.

I would say the direction of travel makes the abolition of Scots MPs rather than MSPs much more probable.

Don't you know a truly lost cause when you see one :-)

Richard Havers said...

Oh yes i know it's a lost cause!

I just marvel, if that's the right word, and the whole shambles that is Holyrood. The absolute second rate, runner-up, reserve team, no-hoper look of the MSPs. If that's the best we can do, then God help us!

I can but dream :)

Anonymous said...

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