Good piece about Parliamentary standards today by Iain Macwhirter over on his personal blog. It covers a lot of ground, and we’re not 100% sure we go along with the comments on Nadine Dorries, but this passage (our emphasis) leapt out:
“And by the way, the PO should ban the practice of applauding at question time. Holyrood has turned into a bear-pit. It isn’t anyone’s fault in particular – though Labour’s conduct has been pretty inexcusable. You can’t win any argument by ranting – except in a pub. The Nats have been behaving in a heavy handed manner since they won their landslide majority and their packing of parliamentary committees hasn’t helped.
Labour’s frustration is partly down to their being locked out of all influence. But it was their fault they lost the election by such a crushing majority, and they aren’t helping their chances of re-election by restoring to the politics of closing time.”
We’ve said several times before that applause should be banned from all forms of televised political debate except at the start and end. It swallows up precious time and serves no purpose – all sides of any given debate will (or at least should) be represented in the audience, and will obediently clap their own man or woman, telling us nothing. It wasn’t permitted in the 2010 UK general election leaders’ debates, and so far as we can tell it wasn’t missed. Holyrood should be no different.
But it’s the second paragraph quoted above that’s even more on-the-nose. In much the same way that they didn’t ever seem to genuinely accept the fact that they lost the 2007 election – seeing it instead as a blip, a grudgingly-permitted technicality, that the SNP got more seats than them – Labour in Scotland have absolutely refused to acknowledge the much bigger hiding they took four years later.
Johann Lamont constantly demands an input that her party simply didn’t earn – the electorate chose, entirely democratically and after looking at the conduct of the previous administration and opposition, to give the SNP the power to run the country without any petty, obstructionist interference this time round. Labour are going to have to suck that up for another three-and-a-half years at least, and if they don’t get a grip on themselves pretty soon they’re going to burst a blood vessel.