Thursday, 7 July 2011

Hello follower!

Just going to ramble a bit tonight, since on my happiest day since Thatcher resigned I admit to having had a celebratory libation.

Some guy I've never heard of but who is apparently the Labour MP for East Kilbride (I thought that was Adam Ingram) has made the front page of the Telegraph. Don't worry, its nothing to do with his expenses. He is concerned that the Scottish Labour Party is going too far down the nationalist road. Oddly, if the straw man he identifies were to be true, then I wouldn't entirely disagree with him. But in reality it's just a straw man. A devolved Parliament (which this chap, admittedly, seems to have reservations about in its entirety) means logically a devolved Party. That's all. The only danger, in Party terms, as in wider terms, is to polarise the debate between the status quo and complete independence. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis, as I'm sure they often observe in East Kilbride.

Anyway, what of the Government of Scotland? They are on holiday.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love my holidays. Three weeks in the warm South every Summer is essential to my personal well being and if they would only bump legal aid rates up a bit I would happily make that four weeks. But I'm also employed in a service industry. I am wise enough to know that my absence abroad will not lead to a three week hiatus in the client's need for legal advice.

So, before I go, I make contingency plans, roping in colleagues to fill the gaps that might not be within the competence of the Firm's other permanent staff. "If there is an offer on this injury claim, you can phone............; for an urgent domestic violence matter phone............; if there's a me and I'll get the first plane back."

This is what comes of having a proper job.

And, to be fair, Governing a Country is a proper job. But who is really governing Scotland this week?

I am not party to the holiday plans of the current administration or even, with a few exceptions, to those of the official opposition. But this has been a big week and from the devolved political class of Scotland there has been a deafening silence. Raymond Buchanan appears to have found "A Scottish government spokesman" to comment that the Scottish Government did not need to withdraw its advertising in the News of The World, as it didn't advertise there in the first place.

In the micro politics of the law the collapse of any effective advice to suspects in custody, imperiling not just the rights of the innocent but potentially the conviction of the guilty, finds another "Scottish Government Spokesman" (or possibly the same one) assuring us that there is nothing to worry about.

And that's about it.

And the opposition is no better: while legitimate questions are asked as to whether the Tories were/are too close to News International; or, indeed, New Labour were; whether the SNP might regret their former patrons remains an unanswered question as there appears to be nobody about to ask it.

All of this kind of leads me back to the man from East Kilbride. There is no real danger that the Scottish Government will become the Government of Scotland because nobody is serious about the idea. Stop an average citizen in the street of any Scottish City and ask them: "Who is in charge of the Government and, while a few might seek to define the question "Scottish or British", most would reply "David Cameron." (Admittedly one or two more might say "Rupert Murdoch" but they would just be clever b................. (I've foresworn swearing))

That's because Real Government is, in management speak, a 24/7/365, responsibility. It doesn't stop at the end of June and begin again on the last day of the school holidays anywhere in Scotland. But that is what passes for Government in Scotland, even under a Nationalist administration.

What we have in Scotland is public sector Government.

It may surprise my follower to learn that every child protection department in the former Strathclyde Region closes at 4pm on a Friday and re-opens at 9.30 on Monday. Now you might think that the overwhelming demand for child protection services would take place at weekends and you'd be right (just ask the Polis) but Child Protection Departments are not run for the benefit of children in need of  protection (don't be silly!), they are run primarily for the benefit of their staff. And surely these staff are entitled to go home early on a Friday? After all, four other days they work till 4.30. Is it any wonder so many of them are off with stress?

Within these parameters, why shouldn't our hard working politicians, kept at it three days a week, week in week out, thirty five weeks of the year, be entitled to a decent break?

And what if a major scandal breaks while they are away? Don't worry, they can always leave that to the Government.

That's me finished. Off to watch the telly. The good news is that I'll can watch Newsnight and Question Time back to back as I've got a Sky Player. What's wrong with that?

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