22 December 2005


There was a last-day-of-term feel to Holyrood today, possibly because this was in fact the last day of term. It reminded me of 'Toy Day' at primary school, when everyone brought in games to play.

Nicola Sturgeon brought Buckaroo. She was attempting to load the McConnell with different problems until he kicked out. Taking the biography of the First Minister ('Lucky Jack') as her inspiration, she first asked if Blair's continual refusal to deal with McConnell was what led him to meet with David Cameron. McConnell replied that both of them have been seen in Scotland, which was more than could be said for Alex Salmond. Sturgeon had the grace to laugh. She then went on waiting times. McConnell pointed out that he had met all his targets. Sturgeon brought out the hidden waiting list manoeuvre (when will these two stop playing 'My statistics are bigger than yours?'). McConnell lashed out, Nat-bashing, and then presenting the Parliament with a list of Nice Things. It was lovely really!

Annabel Goldie went for Backgammon. There's no real reason why I've picked that one, except it feels like a Tory game. Aside from a brief discussion about plans for the New Year, and Goldie telling the FM that 'meetings can be very fruitful' (is she coming on to him?), this was far more serious. She led with the story of two thirteen year-olds found collapsed on the streets of Aberdeen having drunk themselves stupid. She asked for more to be done, and for the Children's Panel to be used to deal with under-age drinking. McConnell struck a conciliatory note. There was an acknowledgement on both sides that action needed to be taken and this was the so-called 'New Politics' at its finest.

Colin Fox brought Go For Broke (see my previous post). He discussed the target of securing equal pay and conditions for male and female council workers and asked the McConnell whether he would raise Council Tax or cut services to achieve this. McConnell tried some Trot-bashing for a change. A brief waste of time, and a shame after the festive ambience provided by Sturgeon and (to a lesser extent) Goldie. That said, McConnell did get in a dig about Fox's Robin Hood costume. He has, therefore, gone up in my estimation.

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