Parliament this week after recess. I keep telling
people that MSPs actually do work during recess, itís
not a holiday, but no-one seems to believe me! Even my
friends think that MSPs are off when Parliament isnít
sitting Ė I should be so lucky, Martha keeps me on the
go all the time, she tells me Iíve got more time to do
things out and about because I donít have to go through
thought Iíd look forward to sitting in the Education
committee for the recuperation value! It was actually a
very interesting session this week, with us taking
evidence about the school estate from, among others,
Scotland is the watchdog on Scotlandís public money, and
it has a beady eye which follows every penny spent. Six
years ago the auditor reported that PFI was a more
expensive way of paying for public services than the
traditional procurement model, and this week we asked
the auditors whether theyíd ever updated that research.
They hadnít Ė but they will now, and weíll have some
serious research to show how best to pay for public
services. That should help the debate weíre currently
of debates, Scotland Week in North America caused a wee
bit of a flutter here. Some people objected to the
change of name, saying that tartan was Scotlandís most
recognisable piece of branding around the world. It
probably is, but the Americans call it plaid, so Tartan
Week didnít mean anything to them.
Ministers made a bit of a splash in the US and in Canada
Ė where my colleague Linda Fabiani (whoís Minister for
Europe, External Affairs and Culture) even found the
time to meet up with the Flag-waver-in-chief Alastair
McIntyre and she and the First Minister, Alex Salmond,
led a parade through New York.
have been some grumbling voices, though, with some
criticising the decision to make the event more about
selling Scotland abroad than about politicians having a
beano together. Personally, I think that itís better
for Scotland to have our politicians making sure that
Scotland is well regarded.
New York were the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who have been
taking the world by storm with their own very particular
brand of piping. That vibrancy is what we need for
selling Scotland to the world.
Week was the subject of Alexís statement to Parliament
this week when he reported back on how things had gone,
and that got us back into the swing of chamber duties,
and we were back into the programme of delivery for
looking forward to Spring Conference this weekend and to
gearing the party up for another election and another
possibility Ė the European election next year and the
Westminster election whenever Gordon Brown has the guts
to call it.
this Ė I might have to sneak out of Alexís speech to
conference before he finishes because Iím heading off to
the Player of the Year awards in Glasgow. Donít tell
him, will you? Iíll let you know later how it goes.