Mike MacKenzie: Will the member give way?
Mike MacKenzie: Will Mr Brown take an intervention?
Mike MacKenzie: It is very disappointing to hear Labour Party members reheating those tired old arguments: we are too poor, we are too wee, we are too stupid—[Interruption.]
Mike MacKenzie: Next, they will be telling us that we are not genetically suited to taking these big decisions for ourselves. However, the really disappointing thing about this afternoon’s debate is that only the SNP, and to a certain extent the Green Party, has put forward credible proposals for an alternative economic strategy. The Labour Party is desperately trying to create the illusion that there is...
Mike MacKenzie: I am sorry, but I am short of time. It is also about the democratisation of information, aided and abetted—as we know—by the internet and shared by means of social media. The increasingly informed electorate knows that deficit reduction is not in itself an economic plan—[Interruption.] Mr Kelly, I said no to your intervention. Deficit reduction would be one of the happy outcomes of a...
Mike MacKenzie: Gordon Brown’s boast that he had ended boom and bust was like a surfer riding on the crest of a wave and trying to claim that he created the wave. Governments can dampen down the business cycle, but they cannot end it, and good Government economic policies can reshape our economy to deliver better outcomes. Increasing our productivity would increase competitiveness; moving to a higher-wage...
Mike MacKenzie: For those reasons, it is necessary to send a large bloc of SNP MPs down to Westminster—
Mike MacKenzie: —to shape economic policy from there.
Mike MacKenzie: 2. To ask the Scottish Government how the schools for the future programme can help improve the school estate and how many pupils it impacts on. (S4O-04125)
Mike MacKenzie: The Highlands and Islands has received schools for the future funding, including funding for schools in Oban and Lerwick, which I very much welcome. Can the cabinet secretary confirm that the number of pupils who are in poor or bad buildings has more than halved since 2007?
Mike MacKenzie: Will Siobhan McMahon take an intervention?
Mike MacKenzie: I have had a particular affection for the A9 since I helped to build part of it during the long, hot summer of 1976. It was a massive improvement on the previous road, but few people predicted back then that Inverness would grow at the rate that it has and become such an economic success story; few people predicted that the road would have to carry the amount of traffic that it now does; and...
Mike MacKenzie: I hope that Mr McArthur agrees that, although the data might not be absolute, definitive proof, it is nevertheless encouraging.
Mike MacKenzie: Does the member agree that, given that Labour members of Parliament marched through the lobbies to vote for austerity, what Labour advocates is continuing—in fact, more—austerity for Scotland?
Mike MacKenzie: Will the member give way?
Mike MacKenzie: Even if it was possible to project forward for all time to come, and even if we paint the picture of doom that Mr Brown suggests, surely he will agree that that is an absolutely shocking legacy of 300 years of Westminster rule.
Mike MacKenzie: Can Lewis Macdonald perform the calculation on the resulting increase in revenues if the Wood report recommendations were followed, or indeed if we were able to realise the 60 per cent recovery rate from oil fields that the Norwegian sector is able to realise compared with the 40 per cent rate in the UK-managed fields?
Mike MacKenzie: Does Murdo Fraser believe that the UK Government is doing all that it can in good time to support the oil and gas industry?
Mike MacKenzie: I am pleased to follow Tavish Scott, who made the best speech that I have heard him give in the chamber. I am happy to say that I agree with a lot of what he said, although perhaps not everything. With 35 UK energy ministers over the past 14 years and 16 major fiscal changes over the past decade, it is no wonder that our oil and gas industry has never performed as well as it might have done....
Mike MacKenzie: Jackie Baillie and her Labour Party colleagues are very good at spending money twice over. The sad thing is that this is just part of an oppositional agenda from the Labour Party that is much more concerned with harming the SNP than with helping Scotland. The Labour Party has no vision for improving Scotland; it has no vision for Scotland other than half-heartedly mitigating the damage done...