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In the News

Downsides of devolution

Mike McCartney

28th March 2024

More issues of sleaze from the Scottish Parliament

Devolution has not resulted, as proponents had hoped, in a new form of politics, free from the tales of corruption which are so often associated with Westminster life. For instance, in Scotland, if we go back to the early history of events in Holyrood, the MSP Tommy Sheridan was the centre of a very high-profile court case against the News of the World where lurid sex allegations surfaced. Sheridan won his libel case, but he faced perjury claims soon after. Hopes that new assemblies would be sleaze free zones were also optimistic. A series of revelations about false expense claims led to a number of party leaders resigning, and then there is the tale of the imprisonment of one MSP who got so drunk at a political awards night at a hotel he set fire to a set of curtains. Meanwhile in Cardiff Bay, there were calls for the Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, to resign after the death of Carl Sargeant.

Therefore, while devolution may have brought government closer to the people, it seems that it brought sleaze and incompetence closer to the people as well.

So what's the latest case?

Questions on the video:

1. Who took responsibility for the iPad?

2. Why did the individual decide to reimburse the parliament?

3. When did the individual contact parliamentary authorities?

4. Why did the individual not mention the use of data by their family in their statement?

5. What was the reason given for not explaining data usage initially?

6. What activity were members of the family engaged in that led to data usage?

7. When did the individual inform the First Minister about the data usage by their family?

Suggested answers on the video:

1. The responsibility for the iPad is mine.

2. The individual decided to reimburse the parliament to cover the full cost of the data charges.

3. The individual contacted parliamentary authorities the next day to arrange reimbursement.

4. The individual wanted to protect their family from political and media scrutiny.

5. The individual believed it was not possible to explain data usage without explaining their family's role.

6. Members of the family were watching football matches, leading to data usage.

7. The individual informed the First Minister about the data usage by their family yesterday evening.

The latest news is that Michael Matheson having resigned from his ministerial post earlier this year will not be giving up his seat as an MSP.

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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