Kenny MacAskill remains Justice Secretary in record stint as long as First Minister AS Scotland’s justice system goes from bad to worse, and the country lurches between a triple dip recession and the spin of a non existent recovery, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has used an announcement of his longest serving stint as First Minister and ‘leader’ of the Scottish Government to hail his Ministerial team’s ‘strong record & vision’.
At least two other members of the First Minister’s team have been in the job as long as Mr Salmond, those being Finance Chief John Swinney, and the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Nicola Sturgeon would also have qualified for the fourth longest serving Minister had it not been for a teensy weensy reshuffle to avoid questions over why the remainder of the SNP’s MSPs are kept away from the top jobs such as the justice portfolio.
While it may well be understandable the Scottish Government need someone who thinks before they open their mouths in the Finance role, Mr MacAskill’s ‘record’ of arguments with the judiciary, tinkering with the Scots criminal justice system to skew prosecution statistics in favour of the “Institutionally Corrupt” Crown Office, and his no-show over civil justice reforms proposed by the current Lord President several years ago, do little to reflect any long term vision for Scots access to justice.
The Scottish Government’s Press Release, complete with spin :
Alex Salmond used the day on which he became Scotland’s longest serving First Minister to highlight his government’s strong record, team and vision during a full programme of engagements.
As he marked his two thousand and second full day in office, the First Minister participated in a range of activities in Edinburgh and Glasgow, outlining how his strong team of ministers is delivering results for Scotland every day and the vision his government has to make Scotland a more successful place.
The First Minister began his day by speaking at a Church of Scotland conference, reaffirming the Scottish Government’s social contract that is helping people through tough economic times with policies such as the abolition of prescription charges, free personal care for the elderly and the implementation of a five year freeze in the council tax.
From there, he travelled to Glasgow to announce that Emirates had become the latest firm to sponsor the Commonwealth Games, helping to deliver a spectacular 2014 Games that is already supporting thousands of jobs and will leave a lasting economic and sporting legacy for the whole country.
Finally, the First Minister surprised a group of primary pupils by visiting a St Patrick's School in Glasgow to help them celebrate their school’s birthday after two of the primary seven kids invited him to become involved in their celebrations.
During the day, he outlined the many achievements of his Scottish Government since he took office in May 2007, including putting an extra 1,000 police officers on the streets; a reduction in recorded crime to a 37-year low; free concessionary bus travel for pensioners; the implementation of the social wage and the abolition of university tuition fees.
And the First Minister focused on the years to come as he reflected on the opportunities presented by the historic Edinburgh Agreement, which for the first time outlines an agreed process to achieve an independent Scotland by delivering a referendum that will allow people to make the nation’s most important decision in more than 300 years.