St Andrew’s Day

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 27th November 2012.

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Photo of John Park John Park Labour

I think that that shows that Mark Griffin consulted his electronic device in an appropriate manner before intervening.

There has been a bit of debate about the Scottish Conservativesamendment to the Government’s motion. Given the effort that Annabel Goldie has put in through her interventions and the spirit in which the debate has been conducted, perhaps the SNP whips could change the whip sheet. I would love to see us smooth a way to emerging from the debate with a consistent position that we can all sign up to. It would mean that decision time would pass a lot more quickly, too.

The second-last thing that I want to say is about the St Andrew’s day holiday. I put on record my appreciation for the work that Dennis Canavan did on that and the wider political support that enabled it to be introduced. It is a shame that we cannot drive its implementation in the private sector in the way that we would want to, but the fact that the Scottish Government and many local authorities have taken a lead in this area is a good thing.

I hope that we can go on a journey that results in our having more days’ holiday in comparison with other parts of the world. The likes of Sweden, Germany and Austria have more days’ holiday, but they also maintain high levels of productivity. The two are not incompatible, and I hope that we can have a sensible debate about that in the Parliament at some point in the future.

I have enjoyed the constructive debate that we have had. Margo MacDonald said that she hoped that it might percolate down into the way in which we hold the wider discussions that the Parliament is having. The past month or so has not been the Parliament’s finest period. We deal with serious issues and sometimes we take ourselves a bit too seriously. Today’s debate has shown that we can deal with serious issues constructively, and I hope that that bodes well for our future discussions.