Saturday, 19 January 2008

Who's playing and who's paying?

Now then, now then, now then ...

When the SNP won the election, Labour thought of a crafty wheeze to clip our wings. That's how the idea to strip money out of the running of Parliament to pay for yet another commission to look at more powers for Parliament came about.

Daft, of course, when they could have just joined the National Conversation like everyone else, but there you go.

Then, not content with having a wee commission, Wendy and her chums shouted for big brother in London to give them a hand and they had a wee jolly in the Scotland Office in Edinburgh.

That’s how the Conservatives and the Lib Dems were engaged – all together for a wee call for a commission, and tea and hob-nobs.

After that great larks and excitement, what more could they ask for?

A trip to London! Whoo on the Hoo scale!

Off they pop – Wendy A, Nicol S, and Annabel G – for a wee bit entertainment down south where they are met by the real heavy hitters. Lumbering in from the right is Des Browne, undefeated heavyweight champion of his own imagination, titled Secretary of State for Scotland, clambering down the Chimney is Alistair Carmichael, performing magic trips making pies disappear, and loafering in behind them all is that true political giant David Mundell.

What a six-pack they made together. I do hope that the MSPs paid for their own travel and accommodation – it would be a terribly poor show if they expected us to pay for their party politics. Anyway, the thing is, as soon as their backs were turned, up pops Gordon Brown with a cunning plan – he established his own commission (well, a Cabinet Committee) to consider the issue. Who’s on that? Well, it’s interesting because it’s all Labour Ministers and Secretaries – in London:

Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Chair) - Jack Straw
Chancellor of the Exchequer - Alistair Darling
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – David Milliband
Secretary of State for the Home Department - Jacqui Smith
Secretary of State for Defence; and Secretary of State for Scotland - Des Browne
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Hilary Benn
Leader of the House of Commons (and Lord Privy Seal); and Minister for Women and Equalities - Harriet Harman
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; and Secretary of State for Wales - Peter ain
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government - Hazel Blears
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip - Geoff Hoon
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families - Ed Balls
Minister for the Cabinet Office; and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster - Ed Miliband
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Shaun Woodward
Leader of the House of Lords (and Lord President of the Council) - Baroness Ashton of Upholland
Lords Chief Whip and Captain of the Gentlemen at Arms - Lord Grocott
Attorney General - Baroness Scotland
Advocate General for Scotland - Lord Davidson
Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Michael Wills MP)

How’s about them apples? All the time that the Conservatives and Lib Dems thought they were part of the great Brown stuff he was preparing to do them in.

With friends like him who needs enemas?

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