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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Our elected representatives - where are they? They’re on their holidays. No, they’re not. Aye, they are …

Scottish Parliament Site: “From 2 July - 4 September 2011 (inclusive) the Parliament will be in recess. During recess no Parliamentary business takes place .”


I make that 65 days of continuous holiday, during which “no Parliamentary business takes place .” In other words, the issues that concern the nation won’t be debated, and there will be virtually no media coverage of the doings of our elected representatives, since our lazy Scottish media, celebrity and sports-obsessed, won’t get off their arses and cover the worthy work we are earnestly assured our MSPs are beavering away at during their hard-earned break. (I await the squeals of outrage eagerly.)

Of course, the world has conveniently stopped to permit this break, paralleled by a similar Westminster break to permit our MPs to frolic in sunny Italy in expensive villas. There are no soldiers dying, no economies teetering on the brink of disaster, no hospital struggling to stem the tide of alcohol and drug abuse victims, no crime, no voters at the point of despair because of the threats to their homes, livelihoods, futures and in some cases, sanity.

Life and injustice have taken a 65-day vacation to permit our politicians, affluent and well-remunerated, to draw breath from their toils. And of course, it coincides nicely with the school holidays for politicians with families, unlike the unfortunate electorate, who work in jobs where the world won’t stay in convenient freeze frame - the police, the emergency services, the caring services, the National Health Services.

Of course for the jobless, the housebound, the frail elderly, the unpaid carers and the unemployed, well, their lives are just one long holiday - they can just wait out the 65 days, the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer until the people they put in Holyrood to do something for them get back to work, refreshed and re-invigorated by a vacation that the vast bulk of those who pay their wages couldn’t remotely contemplate or afford

I worked for most of my life in or with organisations that couldn’t just shut down for 65 days, organisations that had to stagger their holidays and ensure that a continuous service was maintained, otherwise they would have been out of a job.

Scotland’s Parliament can do likewise - this Alice-in-Wonderland system has to change to reflect the brutal realities of what promises to be a brutal decade. And independence won’t wait for holidays - Holyrood or Westminster.

When times get hard, the people expect a lot of their democracy and of those they have entrusted with its operation. If they fail, the people will begin to listen to other voices, dangerous, seductive voices, voices that promise simple solutions, ones that lead to violence and sometimes unimaginable horror.


  1. Crikey! Imagine the outcry if you substituted "teachers" for "politicians"! Still, difficult to find fault with your suggestion. :-)

  2. I take the point, David - but right now, our politicians are the priority. At least the kids go on holiday at the same time as the teachers - there are fundamentally different arguments at work in education.

  3. Peter, Good article and fully supported.

    Of note I have experience of teaching as the wife is in that line of work and works her arse off - up at 6am in for 7.30am works through until 4pm no break for lunch, after school meetings, parents evenings, report writing, spends part of her weekends lesson planning & marking.

    When it comes to the summer holidays, she is physically & emotionally exhausted. Not to mention the physical threats, verbal abuse & poor social habits of those she is utterly dedicated to teaching 2 languages. She doesn't agree with feckless government policy & targets to run schools like a business.

    In my humble opinion she works a damn sight harder than an MP and deserves the time off to recharge her batteries before giving up more time to plan next years' classes. She also does extra work preparing lessonsearly so that a blind girl she teaches cab get an education alongside the other kids in her class, including the autistic members she is also expected to teach inthe mainstream...

    It is no loaf I assure you! 65 days for MSPs is truly staggering and needs to be addressed.


  4. Thanks, Crazy Daisy - I too have relatives in teaching and agree with your sentiments.

  5. I dont get many holidays I am self employed the last time I had a weekend away was two years ago, the last fortnight holiday 8 years ago, I get up at 5 and if I am further afield I get home at 11 , note this is not the norm its usually 8-6
    then I get to do the paperwork emails and messages left through the day, I get to pay my own pension which has gone down for the last two years, I get no sickness pay if Im sick or injured I cant earn the money.
    I get to deal with grumpy customers, health and safety gone mad,council depts gone mad bad roads all over, tourists who drive at 30 mph and then speed up to 80 on the straights, so excuse me if I dont think being a teacher is all that bad.

    I am not begrudging them their time off and that they at times have a stressful job, but even the cleaners in the school are stressed and face their own set of problems so spare a thought for them too.