Friday, May 13, 2016
Not Breaking News: ‘George Laird right again’ as Ken Macintosh is voted in as Holyrood's new Presiding Officer, as I keep telling people, politics isn’t that hard, recently I was saying that Scottish Labour would place third behind the Tories, Macintosh could serve two terms as Presiding Officer if he plays his cards right
Once upon a time, Scottish Labour veteran Ken Macintosh stood to be the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland, he was facing off against Johann Lamont.
At that time, I saw this as his window of opportunity; he failed because he couldn’t get enough backing.
A good performer on TV, he more or less disappeared after this and for the most part was never heard from again.
During the Scottish independence referendum, he was not a major player, one Sunday about two weeks before the vote, I saw him in B&Q in Darnley along with his family. My friend who was buying grass seed said to me, why isn’t he out campaigning?
I wrote about this on my blog, as Francis Drake played bowls, George Laird was out doing gardening, have a google you can find me mentioning this story on a few occasions. Incidentally, in the election, I was asked by Labour Celts to meet up with them at Celtic Park, to my surprise I saw many elected Labour members attending the game.
Including Holyrood candidates, it was Celtic V Ross County, I didn’t stay for the game; I had to go campaigning in the Govan Ward. You might also remember that I wrote on how some senior Scottish Labour members, the last night before polling were out for a drink before they went to the theatre.
Clearly there is a problem in the Scottish Labour Party.
I never knew that so many senior people in Scottish Labour were willing to desert their posts and leave the work to the ‘rank and file’ until this election, this probably explains why so few Labour members are willing to come out and be activists, even on polling day.
The defeat of Scottish Labour didn’t happen because of the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, it was building up over decades.
Anyway, Holyrood is back, and there was an election for Holyrood's new Presiding Officer.
Five people decided to throw their hat into the ring.
As there can only be one winner, that turned out after a few rounds of voting to be Ken Macintosh, and I said prior to the election he would be my choice.
George Laird right again!
Macintosh takes over from Tricia Marwick who is related to the odious Natalie McGarry who recently coughed up £10,000 for smearing of Alistair Cameron, the director of Scotland in Union.
McGarry also has to pin her apology to her twitter account for two weeks as part of an agreement with Cameron not to sue her ass.
The Presiding Officer is politically neutral with responsibilities including chairing sessions of parliament in Holyrood's debating chamber and representing the parliament at home and abroad.
I think that Macintosh will do both these roles very comfortably, and I think I can see him serving two terms in the post subject to re-election down the line.
"I am very grateful indeed for the honour and privilege that you have granted me to be your next Presiding Officer. It gives me great pleasure to welcome and thank all of you, the class of 2016. I can see around me many familiar faces and friends and I welcome you back, but I see too a huge number of new members, freshly elected. The energy, the infectious enthusiasm and the optimism with which you have filled this building already in the few days which you have been here has invigorated me. It has refreshed this place and reminded us all of the opportunity the Scottish Parliament offers all of us to make a better Scotland."
"The revitalising of this Parliament reminds me of the promise offered by devolution, which is to work together across the party divide for the common good. I am very conscious that each one of you has a tremendous responsibility and a duty to the people of Scotland. I see it as my responsibility and my duty to help you in that task."
Standard stuff which you would expect and off to a good start it seems!
Labour leader Ms Dugdale said:
"I am delighted that Ken Macintosh has been elected Presiding Officer. As someone who was elected in 1999, Ken has the experience and skill to guide us through a parliamentary session that will be dominated by cross-party co-operation. I know Ken will perform his role in an even-handed, impartial way. He will be a strong advocate for reform and for ensuring the Scottish Parliament is effective in holding the Government to account."
With the Scottish Labour Party having been pushed into third place by Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives, second largest party with 31 seats, Macintosh becoming the Presiding Officer doesn’t make much difference to Labour’s fortunes.
One of the highlights was the embarrassment that Neil Findlay created by protesting against having to swear allegiance to the Queen as he was sworn in as the Scottish Parliament.
Neil Findlay made a statement before he took the affirmation that his allegiance was to his constituents.
This is a version of Scotland’s ‘jolly fat man’ Alex Salmond’s rant; ‘My first loyalty is to the people of Scotland’.
In this contest for Presiding Officer, the best candidate won!
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University