29 November 2009

The Sunday Whip

A non-eventful week, really, as the only thing that really got people riled was a debate on teaching history. Makes sense, I suppose. He who controls the present controls the past, and so forth.

Anyway. The only substantive votes were taken on Wednesday and there were nine absentees (as well as two stragglers who showed up late). They were Margaret Curran (Lab, Glasgow Baillieston), Marlyn Glen (Lab, North East Scotland), Alex Johnstone (Con. North East Scotland), Michael Matheson (SNP, Falkirk West), John Farquhar Munro (LD, Ross, Skye & Inverness West), Shadow Climate Change Minister Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East), Nicol Stephen (LD, Aberdeen South), Maureen Watt (SNP, North East Scotland) and Shadow Finance Minister David Whitton (Strathkelvin & Bearsden).

As I mentioned, it was the SNP's motion on history that drew most discussion, so once the Business Motions were waved through, it was the turn of the Labour amendment. That vote was missed by Margo MacDonald (Ind, Lothians) and Elizabeth Smith (Con, Mid Scotland & Fife), and the amendment passed by 101 (SNP/Labour/LibDems) to 0 with sixteen abstentions (Tories/Greens). Have I mentioned how much it annoys me, that people should make such a fuss over abstention? Yes? Well, I'm mentioning it again.

Anyway. Next came the Tory amendment - Elizabeth Smith had shown up by this point but Margo was still at large - which fell by 46 votes - the SNP plus Patricia Ferguson (Lab, Glasgow Maryhill) to 29 (Con/LD) with 43 abstentions (the rest of Labour and the Greens). The LibDem amendment passed by 72 (Labour, the LibDems, Greens and most of the Tories) to one (Margo) with 46 abstentions: the SNP and Tory Finance Spokesman Derek Brownlee (South of Scotland). The amended motion passed by 104 (everyone but the Tories) to 0 with 15 Tory abstentions (gah!):

That the Parliament recognises the contribution of Scotland's children and young people in schools to a successful Year of Homecoming; acknowledges the importance of learning about Scotland's heritage, history and culture and place in the world, and welcomes the recent launch of Scotland's History online, a world-leading online resource from Learning and Teaching Scotland, which draws on resources from the National Galleries of Scotland, National Museums Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland and other sources; following concerns expressed by School Leaders Scotland and others over the Curriculum for Excellence, asks ministers to report to the Parliament on the place of history in the developing curriculum; reiterates its belief that history should be taught without political interference; recognises that the effective teaching of history and all other subjects requires teachers to be equipped with the necessary resources and training, and calls on the Scottish Government to provide urgent clarity over the substance and implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence and the changes to Scotland's national qualifications.

Next, a Labour amendment to the Government's LCM on the Child Poverty Bill fell by 74 (SNP/Tory/LD) to 44 (Lab/Green) with one abstention (well, Margo hadn't abstained on anything since the 5th, so she needed to get the urge out of her system!). But the LCM itself passed without argument.

On Thursday, meanwhile, it was smooth sailing: Stage 1 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill was waved through, as was the Financial Resolution, and MSPs were happy to set up a Committee to discuss the Ure Elder Fund Transfer and Dissolution Bill.

So another week passes: next week, there are Government debates on violence against women and "Getting It Right For Every Child", and there's also LibDem business on Thursday morning.


Jeff said...

Nice one Will.

Do you know when the first vote on the minimum pricing will be?

I rather naively assumed it would be in the week that just passed there and it seems it isn't next week either.

I'm looking forward to seeing if MSPs (of all parties) vote along party lines or not.

Will said...

Jeff, the Bill was formally introduced on Wednesday but AFAIK, a vote hasn't yet been scheduled. It looks like Malcolm Chisholm will rebel (that's the third big issue his rebelled on since 2006 - why is he still in Labour?) when it happens, though.

For the record, it's the Alcohol Etc. (Scotland) Bill and the minimum pricing bit is in Sections 1 and 2 and the whole thing is here. If the Bill itself manages to get out of Stage 1, then the minimum pricing part will probably get cut out in Stage 2.

Jeff said...

Thanks, that clears that up.

And i was initially impressed with your extensive though puzzling knowledge of Parliament terminology until it dawned on me that AFAIK meant as far as i know ;)