Thursday, March 29, 2012

FM Alex Salmond reported to Standards Watchdog by Labour Party over the ‘Edinburgh Tea Party’, dullard MSP has trouble 'brewing' complaint properly

Dear All

A political game has started; First Minister Alex Salmond has been referred to the standards watchdog.

The reason is the meeting with SNP donors at his official residence just days before they handed £1 million to the party.

Since the visit was not officially recorded and no minutes were taken, it has given the Labour Party an opening to paint the First Minister as somehow sleazy.

Cash for tea isn’t a real prospect as a complaint.

Labour parliamentary business manager Paul Martin who isn’t the sharpest tack in the box and a few sandwiches short of a picnic has fired off a complaint.

Martin is rolling with Salmond allegedly breached rules relating to separation of ministerial and constituency roles, the use of public resources for party political purposes and a duty to record formal meetings.

Can’t see that floating, the Weirs don’t live in his constituency, Salmond can invite anyone he wants for a cup of tea in his own home and there is no need to record informal meetings just because they happen to be in Bute House.

So, Martin’s on to plums.

Martin cites the code which states:

“Government property should not generally be used for constituency work or party activities. A particular exception is recognised where a building has been designated as the First Minister’s official residence. Where ministers host party or personal events in the First Minister’s official residence, it should be at their own or at party expense, with no cost falling on the public purse.”

Has Martin any evidence to support his claim?


But having no evidence hasn’t stopped him putting the boot in to Salmond, there is an election and it helps to paint the Leader of the opposition as sleazy.

So, Martin has written to Dame Elish Angiolini, independent adviser on the Scottish ministerial code, to investigate his complaints.

Angiolini isn’t going to find anyone who is First Minister guilt of anything.

Martin added:

“It is not befitting of someone holding the office of First Minister to chase after lottery winners and hold tea parties for them at his official residence in a bid to secure donors for his separation campaign. This is a party which auctioned off lunches with the First Minister in the Scottish Parliament to raise campaign funds and changed its policy on bus regulation at the first sign of a cheque from Brian Souter. It is hypocritical of the First Minister to attack David Cameron for abusing his office for party purposes, yet does not see anything wrong when he does the same.”

Given Weir was once an SNP Candidate and Salmond knew him, the personal aspect of their friendship comes into play.

In political terms the Martin compliant is just muck raking but in politics that is how the ‘game’ is played by some.

The timing of the complaint in the run up to the council election is not unusual because it is all about getting an idea across that the First Minister is sleazy and untrustworthy.

Bute House is his residence, he can invite anyone he likes, and the Labour Party hasn’t a leg to stand on.

Don’t you just love electioneering?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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