Mr MacNumpty has attacked Lord Foulkes for reporting Alex Salmond to the Standards Commissioner for claiming a proportion of the £14100 paid by a group of MPs for legal advice on whether to attempt to impeaach Tony Blair over the Iraq war out of his office expenses. He argues that Lord Foulkes has asked loads of what he regards as stupid questions of the Scottish Government which have cost far more.
This isn't an issue of relative costs. I think there is a case for MPs being assisted with the costs of holding the government to account and they should have the right to ask whatever questions they like. If their constituents feel that their money is being wasted, then they can contact them and say so, and vote against them if they feel strongly enough.
I also think that there's a case for allowing MPs to claim costs for legal advice as part of the process of holding the Government to account. It's certainly worth looking at.
Now, I was totally opposed to the Iraq war - I think that the damage we have done to our country's international standing is going to take decades to sort out. It cost many, many lives of our soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians. I think it was illegal and immoral and should not have happened, end of story. I find it a quite bizarre irony that Tony Blair, on leaving office, was promptly sent as a peade envoy to the Middle East.
I was so against this war that I took my then 3 year old daughter to Glasgow Green on a freezing cold day in February to protest against the war, along with many thousands of like minded people.
I did, however, think the nationalists' attempts to impeach Tony Blair was a bit of a waste of time. Not because I thought Blair's actions were justifiable. A quick glance as to what is needed to carry out an impeachment makes it pretty obvious that it never had a hope in hell of succeeding. It requires a majority in the House of Commons to get past first base. Now, who has the majority in the House of Commons? This process was doomed to failure from the start. There was no way that Labour MPs were going to go along with a nationalist publicity stunt.
So there, I can see that, and I found that out for free. I didn't have to go and spend the equivalent of some people's annual salaries to work that out. For that reason, I seriously doubt that the taxpayer should have to fund the cost of Alex Salmond's stupidity.
His move to impeach Blair was never going to be anything other than a publicity stunt and he could have done that for a cost of zero to the taxpayer.
There is one way, though, that we could stop injustices like the Iraq War happening again. If the 2001 Parliament had been elected by a fairer system, the Government would not have had such a big majority and the likelihood is that it would have either have lost a vote in Parliament, or would not even have got as far as putting it to a vote in the first place because it would be clear that Parliament, which would have much greater legitimacy, would not back it. If anyone should know what PR can do for a Parliament's powers, it's Alex Salmond, given how many of his Government's dafter ideas have been binned or modified by the Holyrood Parliament.