Thursday, 17 January 2008


I wrote last week how pointless FMQs is in terms of learning anything or having any meaningful debate. And I stand by that. But I think we might have learned a few things today.

We learned that even when Wendy gets multiple opportunities (and many more than the other opposition leaders) to have a pop at the First Minister, she fails to land a single punch. Even, it should be said, when she picks 25 different topics to ask about.

We learned that, as funny as Annabel is, the First Minister has learned how to ride out the funnies and win their duels.

And we learned that Nicol has developed into what Brian Taylor calls "Mr Angry". Unfortunately, his Incredible Hulk impersonation would be more convincing if he didn't deliver the one-liners (undoubtedly written by a more capable debater) in his monotonous robot voice.

So... an educational day. Now, when will the opposition leaders learn anything from it?


Sam 17 January 2008 at 19:51  

no one outside of the minority of people who work in politics, and the even smaller minority of people in this country who are interested in politics, actually pays attention to parliamentary questions with the First Minister or Prime Minister down here. and with good reason. as Brian Taylor says, "You say things, they [the government] do things. They have the power". 99% pre-scripted debates aimed at generating copy and quotes for the media is not effective parliamentary oversight, which comes in committees, scrutiny of budgets and bills and votes. any government which got taken down by inability to answer questions it knew were coming has wasted every advantage being in power gives it.

Malcolm Harvey 18 January 2008 at 15:58  


I agree to an extent. It's a public show and all about point scoring.

Having said that, you still need to score the points. It might be that A. Salmond (and, indeed, N. Sturgeon) is just better at it, but when the SNP were in opposition, they were able to make the big hits on the FM. Labour in particular appear unable to do that - mainly (in my view) because they've never been an opposition in Scotland, and can't work without the Civil Servants behind them.

On a technical point, yes the FM will have a vague idea of what is going to be asked, but the opposition disguise what it is they will ask about by asking the First Minister "what his plans are for the rest of the day" and other such daft questions.

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