Thursday, 6 March 2008

FMQs - 6 March 2008

On what has generally been regarded – by parly staff and journos alike – as another poor session at FMQs, I would like to try and be a wee bit more positive, on account of my pledge to be less partisan and more informed. So here goes.

Nicol Stephen had what I think was his best session at FMQs – possibly ever, but certainly in to my memory. He had a decent issue. He ditched the “Mr Angry” and made it a wee bit funny. But most importantly, he actually landed a punch on the First Minister. The FM managed to ride it, point out the abolition of the graduate endowment as a starting point etc, and then attacked the Lib Dems for being… indecisive. Now, as regular readers of this blog will know, I am not a fan of Nicol Stephen, his leadership or his increasingly irrelevant party. But… his was a much improved performance today, and, given the headlines earlier in the week about Gordon Brown’s secret meetings with Menzies Campbell to overrule Nicol’s leadership and keep the SNP out of power, he must end the week happier than he began it.

Annabel Goldie was not quite as good as she usually is. While using the issue of Local Income Tax, dubbing it the “Scottish National Income Tax”, she attacked on the issue that it, if the government get their way, will be set centrally. But given that Labour led on this issue last week, and the Lib Dems came over all consensus-like on the issue at their conference at the weekend, Annabel’s line looked like the Tories had come late to the party. And the FM’s answer was right – stating, quite simply, that what is wrong with the current system is that it does not take account of an individual’s ability to pay.

And so we come to Wendy. Where to start? It certainly was not her finest outing, that’s for sure. It is almost as if Simon Pia has left already, as after one week where she was marginally better, Wendy has returned to asking a question and getting an answer, then asking the same question again. Still, at least she didn’t mess up her lines like the other week (“defence is the FM’s form of attack” anyone?). Say something positive? Well… at least she’ll be buoyed by the news that she is not to be prosecuted for failing to register her donations to the Scottish Parliament. Just as well… prison grey probably wouldn’t suit her.

I think I’ll have to revise my pledge. I promise that I will be more positive… when I’m given the material to work with.

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