The Sunday Whip
Another quiet week – is this Parliament going to end with a bang or a whimper? At the moment, the latter looks likely but there’s still drama to come.
Anyway, there was only one vote on Wednesday and there were 14 absent MSPs: Shadow Health Secretary Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton), Shadow Further & Higher Education Minister Claire Baker (Mid Scotland & Fife), Rhona Brankin (Lab, Midlothian, standing down), Aileen Campbell (SNP, South of Scotland), Margaret Curran (Lab, Glasgow Baillieston, standing down), George Foulkes (Lab, Lothians, standing down), Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop (SNP, Lothians), Cathy Jamieson (Lab, Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley, standing down), Conservative Justice Spokesman John Lamont (Roxburgh & Berwickshire), Stewart Maxwell (SNP, West of Scotland), Jack McConnell (Lab, Motherwell & Wishaw, standing down), LibDem Local Government Spokesperson Alison McInnes (North East Scotland), Gil Paterson (SNP, West of Scotland) and Tory Education Spokesperson Elizabeth Smith (Mid Scotland & Fife).
They missed the waving through of the Bureau motions, as well as Stage 1 of the Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Bill and the Local Electoral Administration (Scotland) Bill. The only vote was taken on effectively killing off the Non-Domestic Rates (Levying) (Scotland) (No 3) Regulations 2010. The SSI was duly torn up by 68 (Lab/Con/LD) to 46 (SNP/Green/Ind).
Thursday was much of a muchness, and there were 12 absentees: Rhona Brankin, Aileen Campbell, Margaret Curran, Marlyn Glen (Lab, North East Scotland, standing down), Hugh Henry (Lab, Paisley South), Cathy Jamieson, Margo MacDonald (Ind, Lothians), Stewart Maxwell, Alison McInnes, Hugh O’Donnell (LD, Central Scotland), Mike Pringle (LD, Edinburgh South) and Tory Rural Affairs Spokesman John Scott (Ayr).
They missed the Double Jeopardy (Scotland) Bill pass Stage 1 by 114 to 2 (the Greens being the sole opposition), and the unanimous passage of Certification of Death (Scotland) Bill, along with its Financial Resolution.
So, a quiet week, but worry not! It’s only the calm before the storm: this coming week sees the Budgetocalypse brought upon us. Obviously the SNP will vote for it, and we know that the Greens will oppose any budget that doesn’t see people’s wage packets have another hole torn into them, on the grounds that cutting public budgets is the Coalition’s chosen method of punishing the general public and Patrick Harvie has demanded that the Scottish Government punish working people in an entirely different way. But there are still plenty of unanswered questions. Will the Tories support the Government again? Is there enough in the Budget for Margo MacDonald to be happy? Will Labour and the LibDems oppose the Budget for the hell of it (at least the Greens have set out a reason for opposing the Budget other than the fact that it’s an SNP Minister putting it forward) or will they decide to abstain instead?
These questions, and many others, will be answered in the next episode of Soap.
Or, to be precise, on Wednesday evening.