Monday, August 10, 2009

Tory Murdo Fraser MSP tries to smear Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond and fails.

Dear All

It seems that the Tories have nothing better to do than whine, this time it was because Alex Salmond's two-day trip to US costing £6.6k.

Alex Salmond is the First Minister of Scotland and when he is abroad he is representing Scotland.

The Tories have accused him of "taking the taxpayer for a ride".

What should be pointed out is that the Tories have access to a private charter airline called Flying Lion Ltd who transports them around free of charge.

The breakdown of the bill was as follows;

First class flights cost £5200; I assume that the Tories would prefer if he went economy class on an Afghan Airlines flight, in the hold, with the chickens and goats.

Hotel accommodation cost £1389 at the St Regis Hotel.

Would the Tories rather he brought a 2 man tent with him and he asked to pitch it in the Whitehouse grounds to save on cost?

What about staying in a backpacker’s hostel in a dorm?

This was an official visit to the US where he made a speech at a Burns conference during the short visit in February promoting Scotland.

Over the last year £75,430 has been spent on ministers' flights and accommodation as they promote the Scottish Culture abroad to boost tourism and the value of companies coming to Scotland to set up businesses and work.

In contrast, Scots Secretary Jim Murphy a month earlier racked up a £15,000 bill; Murphy runs a scaled down Scottish Office but Alex Salmond runs an entire country.

Scots Tory deputy leader Murdo Fraser has condemned Alex Salmond's use of taxpayers' cash and said;

"Alex Salmond constantly spends taxpayers' money hand over fist... on himself”.

No Murdo; he is the First Minister of Scotland and he is fulfilling his official duties; he makes no money for himself and to imply he does is misrepresentation of the facts.

The Tories like New Labour have tried to paint Alex Salmond as corrupt and sleazy because he has been so successful in his job as First Minister, it won’t work.

Finance Secretary John Swinney's spokesman makes this point;

"At a time of economic downturn, it is even more important that we do everything in our power to promote Scotland overseas and secure business."

Something the Tories don’t want, a secure and prosperous country going forward; you can only wonder why?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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