What's been gawn on in Parliament this week?
We had our first FMQs since the election on Thursday - the weekly session of questions by Members of the Scottish Parliament directed at the First Minister.
You often get a bit of a rammy between the leaders of the biggest parties. After the pantomime-like performance in the televised leader's debates from the ‘bicker brigade’ (pictured below) this was defo one to look out for.
One of the first items on the agenda was the SNP’s proposed “co-operation agreement” with the Greens. Don’t worry, I didn’t have a scooby either.
Basically, with the way the voting system works in Scotland, it's awfy difficult to get a majority of MSPs in Parliament representing the one party. This also means if the biggest party wants to make some sort of change this will be difficult to do so without support from some of the opposition. You’re probably wondering why we bother doing it in this way, but long story short it means the people that are represented in parliament make up a fairer reflection of how the people of Scotland have voted. You’ll all mind the carry on with voting on two separate sheets of paper… but let’s not get into all that again.
Essentially, the SNP are making deals wi the Greens to ensure they’ll have their support on putting through certain legislation. This is fairly a normal procedure – you’ll probably mind the coalition between David Cameron’s Conservatives and Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems down south back in 2010.
From what I’ve gathered, the difference between a coalition and a ‘co-operation agreement’ is quite a positive one. With the nature of some of the biggest issues on the agenda right now in Scotland (i.e the recovery from covid, combatting child poverty, and tackling climate change) we kinda need all the MSPs working together. There’s not much uncommon ground here – this virus that we’re all seek of hearing about needs dealt wi, nobody wants children across Scotland too skint to even feed themselves and nobody wants this global warming patter to get out of hand. It isn't just the Greens they've been speaking with either, Sturgeon’s claimed to have entered talks with Anas Sawar as well. At the end of the day, the Scottish Parliament was built in honour of co-operative politics… that’s why we have the voting system we do… that’s why the seating arrangement is in a hemicycle to symbolically encourage compromise… that’s why there’s that (debatable-looking) patch ae grass on the roof of the building to show politicians are at ground level making decisions together.
Not all agree on the motives behind this though.
The likes of Willie Rennie and Tory MSP Liam Kerr insisted that this was a wee keek at the overriding priority of independence to follow from this government. This was a fiercely debated topic in the lead-up to the election… Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems were all united in the view that it was impossible to fully focus on the much-needed recovery from the devastation caused by covid if we are all arguing over independence. We’ll expect more pelters like these towards pro-independence parties in the coming weeks.
So what else was gawn on? Well, it was fairly predictable if you read much into the key party messages before the election.
Parliament debutant Douglas Ross put pressure on the support of businesses… quoting the situation in Glasgow. This is a city that has been under restrictions for 269 days and businesses are absolutely toiling. Sturgeon, in response, reiterated the danger of easing restrictions too quickly.
Labour leader Anas Sawar, whose pre-election pitch focussed heavily on the health sector, highlighted a newspaper story that put light on the water scandal at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. A family were allegedly misinformed about the reason their child died… it wasn’t brought to their attention that it was caused by an infection from contaminated water. Sturgeon assured an expert panel have provided reports to individual families of patients but Sawar pressed her saying it wasny good enough. A link to the article can be found here: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/family-not-told-childs-death-24193425
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie highlighted the immigration raids ordered by Priti Patel (a senior minister down south) were not voted for by the Scottish people. See our ‘Strength in Numbers’ article on our home page for a reflection on what went on.
To see the coverage in full head to BBC iPlayer.