14 September 2008

The Sunday Whip

Is it me, or has Holyrood slipped into some sort of routine? Considering that we were promised new, exciting kind of politics, there seems to be a formulaic element to proceedings. Wednesday was quiet, non-controversial and consensual, as always. Thursday was generally ugly for the Government. I seem to write that quite a lot.

Anyway. Aside from the Business Motions, which were waved through, and there was only one motion up for a vote before that. It didn't come to a vote, getting passed on the nod:

That the Parliament notes the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee's 4th Report, 2008 (Session 3): Ferry Services in Scotland (SP Paper 138).

Thursday, however, was not quite as quiet, and was not good news for the Government. Firstly, the Chamber was almost full, with only one absentee: Patricia Ferguson (Lab, Glasgow Maryhill).

Things began with a vote on Labour's call for an independent inquiry into the C.Diff. deaths at Vale of Leven Hospital. The Government amendment fell by 64 (Labour/LibDems/Greens/Margo) to 63 (SNP/Tories). The motion itself passed by 62 votes (Labour and most of the LibDems) to 2 - Robert Brown, LibDem Justice Spokesman and MSP for Glasgow, and Mike Pringle, LibDem MSP for Edinburgh South - with 63 abstentions. There's something depressing about the Parliament voting 'erm' rather than 'yes' or 'no', but nevertheless, the motion passed:

That the Parliament notes with deep concern the outbreak of Clostridium difficile at the Vale of Leven Hospital; considers the report from the independent review team to be a helpful starting point but believes that there are still serious questions to be addressed; notes the referral of the report by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to consider what action should be taken; recognises and supports the substantial case made by the families of Clostridium difficile victims for a public inquiry; notes that the Scottish Ministers can instruct such an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 and acknowledges the need for wider lessons to be learned throughout the NHS in Scotland in preventing and tackling Clostridium difficile, and therefore calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to return to the Parliament to make a statement when the views of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal are known.

Things got worse for the Government with the vote on another Labour motion about teaching jobs. The SNP amendment fell by 77 votes (Labour/Tories/LibDems) to 49 (SNP/Greens) with one abstention (Margo). The Tory amendment was waved through, and the LibDem amendment passed by 77 (Labour/Tories/LibDems) to 47 (SNP) with three abstentions (Greens and Margo). The final motion passed by 77 (Labour/Tories/LibDems) to 49 (SNP/Greens) with one Margo-shaped abstention:

That the Parliament notes with concern the recent Times Educational Supplement Scotland and General Teaching Council for Scotland surveys showing an increasing number of post-probationary teachers who are unable to secure a permanent teaching post; believes that this development represents an appalling waste of talent and is grossly unfair to those newly-qualified teachers encouraged to train to join the profession; further notes that this comes at a time when many class sizes are rising highlighting that the SNP's manifesto commitment to reduce class sizes to 18 in P1 to P3 is in utter chaos, with insufficient funding, a lack of a legal framework and the omission of the policy from 21 out of 32 local authorities' single outcome agreements, and calls on the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning to make a ministerial statement on this subject as soon as practicable following receipt of the report of the Teacher Employment Working Group.

I wonder if something will break the mould next week?


Democracy Scotland said...

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Don't want to spam you, so the link to it is in my blogger profile above.

Cheers in advance,


Anonymous said...

Are the Labour party are too scared to publish what the turnout and voting figures (not percentages) were for the Scottish Labour leadership contest?