The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:21 am on 29th March 2007.

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Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Scottish National Party 11:21 am, 29th March 2007

This debate was always going to be overshadowed by the forthcoming election. It has also been overshadowed by the recent polls in the The Times and Daily Mail newspapers, which are not noted for their support of the Scottish National Party or the cause of independence. It is no wonder that there is panic in the ranks elsewhere in the chamber.

The debate started off with the First Minister, who was reminiscent of Harold Macmillan, saying that we had never had it so good. The problem is that the people of Scotland do not buy that in the light of statistics from organisations such as Barnardo's, as mentioned by Mr Fox, or UNICEF, which show startling poverty levels that bring shame on an oil-rich nation in the 21st century.

Mr McConnell delivered his text with an ease that was almost like Harold Macmillan's and he failed to deliver any passion or commitment. That contrasted with Nicola Sturgeon, who made it clear that the coming election offers a clear choice between instilling fear and promoting confidence; between looking backwards and going forwards into the future; and between failure and fitness to govern. It is time for Scotland to take responsibility.

Mr Jackson, who I see is not present, made a jibe about Ms Sturgeon's absence from the discussion about Govan when she had to leave the chamber earlier. I assure Mr Jackson, who has carried out two jobs throughout not just one but two parliamentary sessions, that after 3 May he will be able to concentrate on his full-time job, which will be located not in this chamber but further up the Royal Mile.

Mr Jackson spoke about the shipyards and Nicol Stephen spoke about his support and admiration for Finland.