I welcome Keith Brown to his new role as Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work. He had an early victory in his brief when his team beat mine in the Scottish cup final 10 days ago. He tells me that he was at the game; I was not. I am assured by the cabinet secretary that he was not one of those celebrating on the pitch, although I am scanning the television coverage carefully to see whether that was the case.
I also welcome Jackie Baillie to her new role on Labour’s front bench. Jackie has long been one of my favourite Labour members of the Scottish Parliament, as she well knows. Of course, it seems that I am not the only Tory who is an admirer of Jackie Baillie, if the results in her Dumbarton constituency at the recent election are anything to go by. Who knew that Trident would be so popular?
When I raised the state of Scotland’s economy in last week’s debate, I was accused by the Deputy First Minister of emulating my namesake Private Frazer from “Dad’s Army”. I am sure that other members were as disappointed as I was at that mischaracterisation of my normal cheerful, optimistic demeanour. However, we simply cannot pretend that everything is rosy in the garden when there are so many issues with the Scottish economy as it stands.
“Economically, we are absolutely on a knife edge with regard to the potential of Scotland re-entering a potential recession”.
Those are not my words but those of Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, speaking on 26 April this year. If the Scottish Government does not wish to listen to Opposition parties expressing concern about the state of the economy, it at least needs to listen to highly respected business leaders.