Keith Raffan: I shall not give way. Enough self-inflicted damage has been suffered by the Tories this week at Blackpool, without my giving way to Mr Davidson to allow even more. I am a kindly man. The Tories are in great pain as a party, and I do not want to talk about them too much. All that I will add concerns Miss Goldie's speech of last week, about inadequate public transport—"inadequate public...
Keith Raffan: Major did that.
Keith Raffan: rose—
Keith Raffan: There was one point of substance from the SNP, which, of course, was about 1993-94 levels of real expenditure. An increase of £7.8 billion would mean a 10p increase in income tax. Obviously we in the coalition do not wish to impose that on the Scottish people, but the SNP does.
Keith Raffan: To ask the Scottish Executive what its position is on the charging of voluntary organisations for criminal record checks on their staff.
Keith Raffan: Alex Neil opened the debate by saying that it was not about independence versus devolution, and then he proceeded to attack the memorandum of understanding and the concordats from an independence—or separatist—perspective. He is entitled to do that, but while his first sentence was measured, he degenerated rapidly into a rant. Sadly, every single member of the Scottish National party has...
Keith Raffan: I will not give way. I will say what I want to say—I have listened to an awful lot today. Like John and Hugh and other Labour members, I think that it is time we had a measured and sensible perspective on this. The Scottish Liberal Democrats look at the concordats from a devolutionary and federalist point of view. The concordats represent a commonsense approach. We have heard about a...
Keith Raffan: Competition for large mobile inward investment projects will not be controlled from the south. Adam used words that are not in the concordats. The secretariat will co-ordinate and the council for overseas promotion will oversee, not control.
Keith Raffan: I will not give way as I have been asked to wind up. It is crucial that different parts of the country should not be played off against each other by inward investors, who are only too well aware that as well as Locate in Scotland and the inward investment arm of the Welsh Development Agency, there are 10 English regional development agencies.
Keith Raffan: I will not give way. I have said that already. Can I finish? The crucial thing is that such negotiations are overseen so that we do not degenerate into a bidding war. That is in nobody's interest. It is not in the interests of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales or England, and it is certainly not in the taxpayers' interests.
Keith Raffan: It is exactly right that the committee for overseas promotion should play a co-ordinating role. For inward investment as for other matters, the concordats represent a commonsense approach.
Keith Raffan: rose—
Keith Raffan: I congratulate Mr Wilson on securing this debate and you, Presiding Officer, on agreeing to extend it. The credit for the review group should lie with the members of the voluntary sector in the public gallery; they are the ones who lobbied members of all political parties to obtain the review. I am glad that the Scottish Executive has shown sensitivity to their point of view, but the credit...
Keith Raffan: I do not want to repeat the points that have already been made, but I wish to congratulate Nick Johnston on obtaining this members' debate. I also congratulate him on quoting a Liberal Democrat, Phil Willis, who, in the House of Commons, has been in the vanguard of campaigning on the issues—particularly the health issues—related to mobile phones. I want to comment on the House of...
Keith Raffan: We are not stabbing you in the back, but in the front. Your front is so exposed.
Keith Raffan: The Conservatives are neither.
Keith Raffan: On a point of order. Is there a time limit on front-bench speeches today?
Keith Raffan: If he made some sense, it would be worth it.
Keith Raffan: rose—
Keith Raffan: Briefly.