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Sunday, 1 November 2009

MSPs and paying for poppy wreaths

This sensitive issue surfaced earlier in the year when MSPs expenses were revealed and it was obvious that some MSPs had claimed money back for poppy wreaths when they attended a Remembrance Sunday event.

Now the body that governs Holyrood’s expenses system has decided that politicians should be allowed to charge the taxpayer if they are representing the parliament at a wreath-laying ceremony.

What a load of utter rubbish.

Firstly, the MSP does not represent the Scottish Parliament for anything whatsoever, they represent their constituents.

Secondly, the whole ethos behind the wreaths is to remember those who have given their lives while serving their Queen and Country. Surely, then £100, top estimate for those MSPs who attend a number of remembrance events is hardly a lot to pay out once a year when you earn £60,000?

£100 once a year - versus the soldiers who died in battle. Hardly something to moan about.

I would be appalled if any Liberal Democrats MSPs, MEP or MP claimed these as expenses.

I know some have in the past and I have been very happy to share my views with them and certainly would do so again if they repeated their mistake.

Tuesday 3rd November - UPDATE

Over at SNP Tactical Voting, Jeff puts a counter argument to this discussion. I do disagree with Jeff, it isn't just about the cost as he claims, it is the principle of why a poppy is worn and why we remember the 11th hour, of the 11th day on the 11th month each year.

An MP, MEP, MSP or even a Councillor chooses to be there as I did when I was Parish Councillor - with no allowances to claim -I paid for my poppy wreaths each year to be laid in my area because I was there from choice not duty.

There are also good blog posts over at Subrosa and Stephen's Linlithgow Journal.


Unknown said...

I agree with you 100%.

Jenni L said...

Sorry, I disagree. Some MSPs have to go to a number of wreath laying events with wreaths costing £100 a pop. They aren't invited as individuals, but as representatives of teh Scottish Parliament for that constituency or region. Valid point if you make every civil attendee pay out of their own pocket e.g. the Lord Provost etc. But if you get invited to 8 events at £100 a go, all it means is that MSPs will only go to one or two if they have to pay themselves.

Anonymous said...

On the same logic MSPs write do their whole job on behalf of their constituents so they should not be entitled to expenses. The parliament should apply the 'wholly and exclusively test". An MSP lays a wreath on Remembrance Sunday wholly and exclusively because he is an MSP. Tell me one private citizen who does that?

Alwyn ap Huw said...

I am confused by the argument that an MSP might have to attend multiple remembrance events. I thought that all wreaths were laid at the same time throughout the British Isles: shortly after 11 am on Remembrance Sunday!

So how does a representative manage to represent his or her constituents in 6, 8 or more places at once?

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