Are you nervous, George? [ Laughter. ]
The Scottish Socialist Party echoes much of what has been said about the MSPs who are retiring—I am not one of them—and about the Presiding Officer. We acknowledge that during the
You have been fair in giving the SSP time to speak in debates and at First Minister's question time and we are grateful to you for that. We wish you well as you embark on your new life outside the Scottish Parliament. If you need a reference for anything in the future, we will be happy to oblige.
I hear that you will receive the freedom of Clackmannanshire. Congratulations—I know that you are very proud of that. I point out that Cornton Vale women's prison lies within the boundaries of Clackmannanshire. The next time any of us finds ourselves inside, will you ensure our freedom? A file inside a cake will do nicely. I have a wee bone to pick with you, though. The last time I was in Cornton Vale you promised me that you would pop in to visit me, but you never showed up. You shouldna gie a lassie a dizzy like that. If it had not been for the fact that you rescued me just a couple of weeks ago from a gang of Vikings in the garden lobby—you remember them—I would bear a grudge. However, you are off the hook because you stepped to my aid—and made me blush, which is not easy.
Carolyn, Frances, Colin and I wish you all the best. We thank you for being fair and for retaining your sense of humour, which is not an easy task in politics. You are often described as a statesman, but to me you are just a nice bloke in a sharp suit, with a ciggie hanging out of his mouth, in the naughty corner outside Queensberry House.
We thank you for everything. It has been very nice knowing you and I am sure we will see you around in the future. I feel I should leave Parliament as I entered it, with a message written on the palm of my hand—it reads, "Bye, George."