Sometimes it feels like Comical Ali has taken on the role that Alistair Campbell once filled. However, there was a gem of comical honesty at the end of Sunday’s Politics Show for those watching. Mike Russell MSP, Environment Minister in the Scottish Parliament summed up a debate with a sudden bout of honesty that took some of his colleagues aback. The debate had the vacuous title of “Moving Scotland Forward.”

He opened by saying,
“I find myself in some difficulty, because the opening sentences of my speaking notes say:
“This has been a very valuable and useful debate. I welcome the contributions and views that have been expressed”.
I publicly dissociate myself from that opinion. This has not been a “valuable and useful debate.” It is of some significance that not one member has declared an interest—because there has been no interest in the debate. Outside the chamber, there will be no interest in the debate. By insisting on holding this debate, Robert Brown
has succeeded in wasting everybody’s time.”

There then followed this exchange:
“Those absent members knew that this afternoon’s debate was pointless. It was a pointless occasion, and it was one of those occasions that do the Parliament no good whatever. Let us be ruthlessly honest about it: this was political theatre for those who are paid to be here. The debate had no other meaning.”

“Will the Minister give way?”

“No, I will not give way. My intention is just to get through this. I just want to get through it and go home. Just understand that, all right?”

Unless someone was playing around with truth serum darts and a blowpipe in Holyrood last week, the Scottish Parliament certainly has a different atmosphere than Sutton Council meetings.
(Footnote: He did go on to lose the vote.)