Friday, 23 January 2009


Today, The Scotsman is reporting on the publication of MSP expenses for last year - or at least it was kind of published, although "much of the detail" of extra claims "was hidden", apparently. Super. Nice and transparent.

Of course, all this was the cue for the parties to start sniping at each other, trying to claim moral superiority for having milked the taxpayer slightly less than opposing parties, but really just ending up looking pathetic and petty.

A Lib Dem spokesman had the gall to scoff at Jim Mather, Enterprise Minister, for spending £256 quid on books, saying:

"We now know why Jim Mather hasn't been speaking in parliament much. He's been too busy reading these books he's asking the taxpayer to pay for."

This, when six out of the top ten claimants were LibDems, and their leader Tavish Scott at numero uno with extra claims of £54,000. The bleated excuse is that Mr Scott has to fly to and from Shetland. So, of course, does Alastair Allan, MSP for the Western Isles, but somehow he's managed to only spend £36,000.

Hell, at least Mr Mather is reading; he might learn something. Though perhaps not, if, as reported, he's sticking to autobiographies of luminaries of waste-of-space economic buffoonery such as Alan Greenspan.

The Scotsman also informs us that:

"There were some eyebrows raised at some of the claims, in particular a five-fold increase in the party leaders' allowance from £5,776 in 2006-7 to £27,193 in 2007-8.

Much of the detail of this was hidden, but parliamentary sources said that most of the extra claims were down to support costs for former Labour leader Wendy Alexander and ex-Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen."

Everyone's favourite fraudster, i.e. Wendy Alexander, appears to have been at it again. As for raised eyebrows, I can tell you that both of mine are so raised that they've crossed my hairline and are no longer visible.

What the hell's with the more-than-quadrupling of the party leaders' allowance? Oh yes, I forgot, the details "are hidden."

Nice to know our lawmakers in Holyrood are tightening their belts along with the rest of us.

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