05 April 2009

The Sunday Whip

A successful week for the Government, though as we know, proceedings - especially on Thursday - took place under a very large cloud. Nevertheless, the political process did continue as best it could (despite the complaints from Lord Foulkes about a lack of accountability) and the actual outcome of matters resembled an ordinary week.

Wednesday saw everything passed on the nod: the Business Motions, the appointment of Stuart Allan as Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, a Finance Committee motion acknowledging its report, Inquiry into methods of funding capital investment projects and an LCM for the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill.

Thursday saw a full card of votes, with nothing taken on the nod, but party lines became relatively established early on and there were no defeats for the Government. Indeed, there were only five absentees: Shadow Rural Development Minister Karen Gillon (Clydesdale), Alex Johnstone (Con, North East Scotland), Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead (Moray), Tom McCabe (Lab, Hamilton South) and Gil Paterson (SNP, West of Scotland).

First came the SNP motion on Hospital Waiting Times. The Labour amendment passed by 92 (SNP/Lab/Green/Margo) votes to 31 (Con/LD), while the Tory amendment fell by 91 (SNP/Labour/Green) votes to 31 (Con/LD) with one abstention and the LibDem amendment fell by 89 (SNP/Labour) to 31 (Con/LD) with three (Green/Margo) abstentions. LibDem Justice Spokesman Robert Brown (Glasgow) missed the vote on the amended motion, which passed by 91 (SNP/Labour/Greens) to 16 - the Tories plus LibDem Culture Spokesman Iain Smith (North East Fife) - with 14 abstentions (the remaining LibDems plus Margo):

That the Parliament welcomes the most recent progress that has been made in reducing waiting times for patients; applauds the commitment, dedication and hard work of all NHS staff who have contributed to delivering these significant improvements for the people of Scotland; notes the progress made by the previous administration; while welcoming the extension of the waiting times guarantee to include child and adolescent mental health services, calls on the Scottish Government to consider extending the range of specialties to include adult mental health services; further calls on the Scottish Government to ensure sufficient resources to bring NHSScotland in line as soon as possible with the NHS in England where a "whole journey" national waiting time standard of 18 weeks was delivered by December 2008, and notes that this compares to a target of 18 months introduced by the previous Conservative administration.

Following that came the Anti-Social Behaviour Framework. The Labour amendment fell by 79 (everyone but Labour) to 44, with the Tory amendment passing by the same margin. The LibDem amendment passed by 63 - the SNP, LibDems, Margo and Labour's Shadow Housing Minister Mary Mulligan (Linlithgow) - to 58 (the other Labour MSPs and the Tories) with two Green abstentions. The amended motion passed by 79 (again, everyone but Labour) to 44:

That the Parliament notes the publication of the new Antisocial Behaviour Framework, Promoting Positive Outcomes: Working Together to Prevent Antisocial Behaviour in Scotland, which has been developed in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and other national partners; further notes that the success of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 has not been universal; agrees that antisocial behaviour blights the quality of people's lives and should not be tolerated but believes that prevention is better than cure when it comes to protecting communities from disorder and encourages communities to report all incidents of crime and disorder so that they can be properly addressed; appreciates the wealth of good practice followed in some areas of Scotland and the importance of replicating it as widely as possible; welcomes the framework's emphasis on addressing the causes of antisocial behaviour, such as drug and alcohol addiction and deprivation, and on improving life chances; supports the promotion of the new prevention, early intervention, enforcement and rehabilitation (PIER) model, including the use of acceptable behaviour contracts pioneered by Liberal Democrats in Islington, and regards increased community involvement and empowerment as vital components of success in action to tackle antisocial behaviour.

So that was it for this week, and indeed, this term. Later on in the week, I'll be producing the usual overview.

1 comment:

subrosa said...

Thanks Will. I do appreciate the work you do to produce this and it's so much easier for me to assess rather than scrambling round various websites and of course the government one.