Sometime ago, I was blogging on #throbbergate, this is the story of disgraced former SNP minister Mark McDonald who had to quit his post over alleged sexual misconduct, the SNP investigation is still ongoing.
I wonder, and I am sure that others might, does ‘still ongoing’ mean the SNP want him to quit, if he does go, he would leave public office in disgrace to make way for Alex Salmond. The next election isn’t till 2021 so McDonald has a lot to lose in terms of money. It is doubtful he would be selected as an SNP candidate ever again, too much heat on Nicola Sturgeon, and sex and politics do make for odd bedfellows if there is any sort of suggestion someone has over stepped the mark.
After quitting as an SNP sex-row minister, Mark McDonald is to receive 'golden goodbye' in the shape of a “resettlement grant”. This is an automatic entitlement with in his case has provoked outrage. He walks away with £7,270 for quitting as the Scottish Government’s childcare minister after just18 months in post. Clearly the rules are wrong, then the public must speak out, no one who resigns in those circumstances should be entitled to a penny from the public purse.
He is effectively getting paid £7,270 after admitting he caused a woman “considerable distress”.
The opposition parties say that there should be an overhaul of the law, the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act of 2009 to stop people receiving a benefit when leaving Ministerial office in disgrace.
And let’s be clear, Mark McDonald’s case is a sordid nasty little affair which Nicola Sturgeon tried to dismiss and move quickly on from, sadly for her, up pops more allegations which forced the SNP to suspend McDonald from the party.
Operation ‘hang on to a vote’ blew right up in Sturgeon’s face.
Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett said the payment to Mr McDonald was “clearly wrong”, and he is 100% right, although someone gets the cash regardless whether they lost at the ballot box, through ill-health or scandal, getting paid for causing someone distress is wrong.
Holyrood should consider rewriting the legislation at the earliest opportunity, however that will not help in McDonald’s case.
Alexander Burnett also said:
“It’s important we look at these processes again to ensure this isn’t repeated. The public view of the parliament as a whole would worsen otherwise.”
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant added:
“This is unacceptable. It cannot be right that a minister who has resigned in such circumstances has effectively received a bonus from the taxpayer. If Mark McDonald has received this money, he must immediately return it or donate it to a charity such as Women’s Aid. The Scottish Parliament must also urgently review the law which allows this money to be given and appropriately reform it to avoid such circumstances in the future.”
The SNP Government have a habit of rewarding failure, back in 2010, Stewart Stevenson received a similar-sized grant after quitting as SNP transport minister; the transport brief is widely regarded as a post for the really non talented. Following the travel chaos Stevenson returned it to the parliament.
Mark McDonald is someone who is living on parliamentary borrowed time, it isn’t a case of if he leaves but when, his career is over completely. Alex Salmond is breathing down his neck in the wings waiting for his seat, one wonders if Mark McDonald will be squirreling away as much cash as possible.
What does the future hold for Mark McDonald?
I would say call centre work.
If you read his bio, he has been a political hack since he left university working for various SNP politicians.
As an Independent MSP, he has been absent from Holyrood on his full MSP pay since resigning, since he isn’t in ill health, he is in hiding. Of course, one wonders what his staff must be thinking, if I was them I would be looking at situations vacant because he has put their livelihood in danger, they don’t have job security.
One thing which I haven’t seen is condemnation by Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie, Harvie has been strangely quiet about this scandal which is surprising giving his outspoken stance when the Bill Walker wife beating affair was ‘the thing’.
One wonders if he needs to consult Nicola Sturgeon before speaking out now given the Scottish Greens are seen as an SNP proxy vote cache.
In January, Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP’s probe, would “take as long as it takes”, when pressed this week SNP transport minister Humza Yousaf blurted out the inquiry was “perhaps taking more time than it should”.
Is this a dig at Nicola Sturgeon?
Finally, the SNP made a huge deal about protecting women in politics, at the first hurdle Nicola Sturgeon has been found wanting, why did Nicola Sturgeon not act more swiftly?
Why don’t you let that question occupy your thoughts for a wee while!
The Campaign for Human Rights at