Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Our readership grows...

T’would appear our readership grows amongst the ranks of Hon. and Rt. Hon. Members of Parliament.

What else would explain this two-day, triple whammy?

First to have a go was Angus Robertson who aptly noted the Liberals classic kinda, sorta, maybe for or against nuclear weapons stance.

Angus Robertson: On the question of commitments, perhaps we could have some clarity from the Liberal Democrats. At the weekend, we had a demonstration in Scotland against the new generation of Trident weapons. The head of the Church of Scotland said that they were “morally and theologically wrong”. Cardinal Keith O’Brien said that they were “immoral”. A poll also revealed that 81 per cent. of Liberal Democrats would rather have the cost of Trident spent elsewhere. Is that the position of the Liberal Democrat party or will it continue to ride roughshod over the wishes of its voters and majority opinion in Scotland?
Nick Harvey: The opinion of the Liberal Democrats remains that Britain’s minimum nuclear deterrent should be sustained for the foreseeable future. We hope very much that in the future circumstances will be created in which it can safely be decommissioned, but those circumstances do not exist at the moment. That is the policy that we will continue to pursue. We do not believe that the decision to renew the submarine fleet is necessary at the moment, but we remain committed to the principle of the minimum nuclear deterrent.

Second was the first of two bombasts in Scottish Questions yesterday. Mark Lazarowicz pitched up a beauty softball to his own team about Nicol ‘Who?’ Stephen’s big night out at the BAFTAs

Mark Lazarowicz: My hon. Friend will be aware of aviation’s growing contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and elsewhere. In Scotland, however, the Liberal Democrat Minister for Transport, supported by other parties, is busily giving big subsidies to airlines to encourage even more flights and cheaper air travel. Will my hon. Friend discuss with the Executive how consistent that policy is with commitments by the UK Government and, indeed, by the Scottish Executive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? .
David Cairns: My hon. Friend raises an extremely important issue. Aviation does contribute to carbon emissions and global warming. That is why we have long argued that it should be within the EU emissions trading scheme. It is important for politicians to show leadership and consistency. Each of us who is a Scottish Member accepts that we fly more often than the average citizen and more often than is altogether good for the planet, but it is important that we are consistent. It ill becomes politicians to declare one day that they will not take any non-essential flights, and the next day to catch a flight down from Aberdeen to London to go to the BAFTAs. Perhaps that is just jealousy because I have never been invited to the BAFTAs, but the Deputy First Minister should show a little more personal consistency.

Third was ‘Oh No Jo!’ who, suddenly confused, thought she was on the other side of the House and attacked her own party. Just what is your (my, our, etc) stance on Independence and a referendum?
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): Given that when they are asked, the favoured option of the Scottish people is neither independence nor the status quo, but for more powers to be given to the Scottish Parliament, why is the Secretary of State so blinkered as to maintain that the current settlement is the end of the road?
Mr. Alexander: Of course, we take a strong interest in the views of the Scottish people, but it is important to recognise the importance of consistency in political debate. The hon. Lady wrote in the last issue of The House Magazine that she was in favour of a further constitutional convention, but her erstwhile leader, the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Mr. Kennedy), who is two places along from her on the Front Bench, has said:

“There is always a temptation in human nature, where new institutions are concerned, to be drawn towards pulling up the roots just to see how the plant is growing.”

Once the Liberal Democrats decide their own policy, they can start giving advice to the Government.
Badda Bing Badda Boom. These Scottish Questions just keep getting better. But in all fairness to Jo, according to some, perhaps Charlie was in no condition to give her a briefing.

The Clown's smiles turned to frowns when they realised they were being upstaged inside the building

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