20 December 2009

The Christmas Whip

Having rolled to the end of term with a surprisingly bland set of votes (i.e. no votes at all), despite a rather acidic FMQs, the festive recess is now upon us (by the way, if any children are reading, it's now five sleeps until Christmas, so sit down, shut up and be good or Father Christmas will bring you nothing more than a roll of woodchip wallpaper and a tub of Polyfilla).

So with that, it's time to take a look at who's getting coal from the Whips for Crimbo.

As always, we begin with the Top 5 absentees. Hugh O'Donnell (LD, Central Scotland) missed 33 votes out of 54 and so is the most absent MSP; Margo MacDonald (Ind, Lothian) missed 27 and is the only regular fixture in the Top 5; Shadow Housing Secretary Cathy Jamieson (Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley) missed 23 votes (not a good advertisement for her bid for the Kilmarnock & Loudoun candidacy); Shadow Finance Minister David Whitton (Strathkelvin & Bearsden) missed twenty; while Marilyn Livingstone (Lab, Kirkcaldy) missed 19.


The report card is a good one for the SNP: an attendance rate of 95% - second only to the Greens. Jamie Hepburn (Central Scotland) missed the most votes - 18 - which is understandable given that he was on paternity leave for a spell. Bob Doris (Glasgow), Joe FitzPatrick (Dundee West), Michael Matheson (Falkirk West) and Anne McLaughlin (Glasgow) all missed eleven.

Stuart McMillan (West of Scotland) missed ten votes, while Bill Kidd (Glasgow) missed seven and Maureen Watt (North East Scotland) missed six.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead (Moray) and Shirley-Anne Somerville (Lothian) both missed four votes, while Willie Coffey (Kilmarnock & Loudoun), Angela Constance (Livingston), Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North), Stewart Maxwell (West of Scotland) and Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson (Banff & Buchan) all missed three. Nigel Don (North East Scotland), Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop (Lothian), FM Alex Salmond (who, as we know is the MSP for Gordon) and DFM Nicola Sturgeon (Glasgow Govan) all missed two votes.

A small handful missed only one vote: Alasdair Allan (Western Isles), Aileen Campbell (Clydesdale), Christopher Harvie (Mid Scotland & Fife), Tricia Marwick (Central Fife), Gil Paterson (West of Scotland), Public Health Minister Shona Robison (Dundee East), Education Secretary Michael Russell (South of Scotland), Finance Secretary John Swinney (North Tayside), Andrew Welsh (Angus), Sandra White (Glasgow) and John Wilson (Central Scotland).

There have been no rebellions on the SNP side, making them the most cohesive of the Big 4 parties.


Labour's report card is far weaker, with the party falling to fourth and the attendance rate falling to 86.76%. And at this point it might be wise to flag up Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Baker (North East Scotland) and Shadow Community Safety Minister James Kelly (Glasgow Rutherglen), who bear the slightly sad honour of being the only Labour MSPs to make every vote since MSPs returned from the Summer recess. Oh dear.

Anyway, besides Cathy Jamieson, David Whitton and Marilyn Livingstone, the absences are as follows:

Hugh Henry (Paisley South) missed 17 votes, while Cathie Craigie (Cumbernauld & Kilsyth) missed 16. Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill) and Shadow Finance Secretary Andy Kerr (East Kilbride) both missed 14.

Shadow Further & Higher Education Secretary Claire Baker (Mid Scotland & Fife), Margaret Curran (Glasgow Baillieston), Shadow Rural Development Minister Karen Gillon (Clydesdale) and Tom McCabe all missed thirteen votes. Wendy Alexander (Paisley North) and Shadow Local Government Secretary Michael McMahon (Hamilton North & Bellshill) missed twelve. Duncan McNeil (Greenock & Inverclyde) and Elaine Smith (Coatbridge & Chryston) missed eleven.

Shadow Culture Secretary Pauline McNeill (Glasgow Kelvin) and Shadow Climate Change Minister Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) missed ten votes; Marlyn Glen (North East Scotland), Deputy Leader Johann Lamont (Glasgow Pollok) and Shadow Children's Minister Karen Whitefield (Airdrie & Shotts) missed nine. Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North & Leith), Helen Eadie (Dunfermline East), Shadow Transport Minister Charlie Gordon (Glasgow Cathcart) and Shadow Enterprise Minister Lewis Macdonald (Aberdeen Central) missed eight.

Irene Oldfather (Cunninghame South) missed seven votes, Shadow Schools Minister Ken Macintosh (Eastwood) missed six and Shadow Public Health Minister Richard Simpson (Mid Scotland & Fife) missed five.

Rhona Brankin (Midlothian) and Peter Peacock (Highlands & Islands) missed four votes; Bill Butler (Glasgow Anniesland), Jack McConnell (Motherwell & Wishaw) and Shadow Housing Minister Mary Mulligan (Linlithgow) all missed three. Shadow Health Secretary Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) and George Foulkes (Lothian) missed two.

The following MSPs missed one vote: Shadow Rural Affairs Secretary Sarah Boyack (Edinburgh Central), Trish Godman (West Renfrewshire), Rhoda Grant (Highlands & Islands), Leader Iain Gray (East Lothian), Business Manager Paul Martin (Glasgow Springburn), Shadow Sport Minister Frank McAveety (Glasgow Shettleston), Shadow Education Secretary Des McNulty (Clydebank & Milngavie), Shadow Environment Minister Elaine Murray (Dumfries), Shadow Cabinet Secretary without Portfolio John Park (Mid Scotland & Fife) and David Stewart (Highlands & Islands).

Cohesion has dropped slightly to 99.54%: Malcolm Chisholm is the most rebellious MSP, having broken with the Group four times - all on Lockerbie. Next comes Elaine Smith, who rebelled twice on teacher numbers. Patricia Ferguson, John Park, Cathy Peattie and Richard Simpson have all rebelled once.


Attendance is down again to 94.44%, putting them in third place. Alex Johnstone (North East Scotland) missed thirteen votes); Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland) missed seven; Elizabeth Smith (Mid Scotland & Fife) missed six. Finance Spokesman Derek Brownlee (South of Scotland) and Nanette Milne (North East Scotland) missed five votes, while Ted Brocklebank and Deputy Leader Murdo Fraser (both of Mid Scotland & Fife) have missed four. Justice Spokesman Bill Aitken (Glasgow), Gavin Brown (Lothian), Leader Annabel Goldie (West of Scotland) and Jamie McGrigor (Highlands & Islands) have all missed one vote.

The Tory cohesion rate has fallen to 99.39%, thanks to Bill Aitken, Ted Brocklebank, Derek Brownlee, Annabel Goldie and Jamie McGrigor all rebelling once. Well, I'm assuming that Bella pressed the wrong button, so we'll let her off.

Liberal Democrats

The LibDems' attendance rate of 86.23% is the worst of the five parties and they can only spare their blushes if they treat Margo MacDonald as a party. Anyway, besides Hugh O'Donnell the absentees are as follows.

Mike Pringle (Edinburgh South) and Jim Tolson (Dunfermline West) missed twelve votes, while John Farquhar Munro (Ross, Skye & Inverness West) missed eleven. Leader Tavish Scott (Shetland) and Culture Spokesman Iain Smith (North East Fife) missed nine.

Mike Rumbles (West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine) missed eight votes, Environment Spokesman Liam McArthur (Orkney) missed seven, while Nicol Stephen (Aberdeen South) and Jamie Stone (Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross) missed six. Justice Spokesman Robert Brown (Glasgow) missed four votes, while Health Spokesman Ross Finnie (West of Scotland) missed two.

The LibDems also have the lowest cohesion rate. They have the same number of rebel votes as the Tories, but their higher absence rate means that those votes account for a higher percentage of votes registered by LibDem MSPs. Accordingly, their score goes down to 99.33%, thanks to Ross Finnie, Liam McArthur, John Farquhar Munro, Finance Spokesman Jeremy Purvis (Tweeddale, Ettrick & Lauderdale) and Iain Smith.

Greens and Margo

Well, cohesion isn't a problem here: it would be a bit cringeworthy to see the two Greens facing two ways, and it would be impossible for Margo to rebel against herself having only one vote. However, attendance is a different story: the Greens top the table with 98.15% - both of their MSPs ducked the vote on Ministerial appointments. Margo, however, had only a 50:50 chance of being in the Chamber for a vote, missing 27 out of 54. Ouch.

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