Ministers and Junior Ministers

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:05 am on 21st May 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat 10:05 am, 21st May 2003

I echo the comments of the First Minister and John Swinney, which I am sure would be echoed throughout the chamber, in sending support to Celtic Football Club as it approaches tonight's final in Seville. We all wish Celtic well. I am sure that Celtic and its fans will be great ambassadors for Scotland. I certainly hope that tomorrow—or later tonight, but no doubt carrying on into tomorrow—we can celebrate a victory. Indeed, on meeting the press yesterday for the first time after being named Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Frank McAveety is said to have answered the question which was his favourite opera by saying without hesitation that it was "The Barber of Seville". I am sure that he must be disappointed that he will not be able to go out there in his new role.

It is interesting that the other speakers have gone out of their way to say that they do not attack the personalities of Peter Peacock, Frank McAveety, Nicol Stephen, Tom McCabe or Tavish Scott. Nor should they, as those are five very talented people who will contribute greatly, and indeed already have done so, to public service through ministerial office in Scotland.

It was also interesting to hear the rival speeches of John Swinney and Kenny MacAskill—I think that John Swinney just won on the clapometer. When Kenny MacAskill went on about how many things Frank McAveety ought to have charge of in order to boost tourism, about the only thing that he stopped short of including among Frank McAveety's responsibilities was early training in schools. Kenny MacAskill was in danger of saying that Frank McAveety should be in charge of everything, but we all know that Kenny MacAskill's speech was really about who should be in charge of the SNP.

Of course, in both SNP speeches the answer to everything was further constitutional change and upheaval. The independence word, which the SNP would not use in the election campaign, is creeping back into circulation. Anyone who thinks that enterprise would be assisted and growth boosted by a further bout of constitutional navel-gazing is living—