I am formally declaring my intention to stand to become presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament. As strange as that may seem, it actually has some benefits for everyone, including the pro-independence parties that will be at Holyrood.
There are some that might find this to be an extremely strange policy for the election. However, allow me to posit a simple question to you. Every politician comes into an election with a manifesto – they will tell you that electing them gives them a “mandate” for those policies.
To the best of my knowledge, no person has ever stood with a policy for running for presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament and there is a number of reasons why I am doing so.
We will see if they respect a mandate of a person declaring from the outset of his intention to stand from presiding officer.
A party member taking the position of PO means losing a vote off the floor.
When a politician becomes presiding officer (not deputy) they are forced to give up their party colours and become independent. This mean losing a vote off the floor. It also means losing someone who may be better placed to sit on one of the many Holyrood committees.
Being independent means that does not apply to me. I have no party colours to give up. This means that the pro-indy MSP’s with party colours are on the floor.
Unionist Presiding Officer
The reason the previous presiding officer as a unionist was because the SNP couldn’t afford to lose a parliamentarian to the position. This would not happen with an independent all ready to take up the post.
The referendum bill
When the SNP’s referendum bill goes to the floor a declaration needs to be made on whether or not the presiding officer believes it to be competent. Who better than the person who has fought alongside 10,000 of his fellow electorate on this very subject through the courts to establish the competency of the Scottish Parliament to legislate for a second referendum. It has literally consumed a year and a half of his life and he knows all of the facets of the different arguments surrounding the referendum bill.
Parliament is going to need a referree.
Let’s face it, the next term of parliament is going to be nothing like we’ve ever seen. Despite not being an MSP, I have already successfully managed to get cross-party consensus on a number of policy matters. I have a history of working cross-party and being independent is the primary reason for this.
As an independent I have the latitude to deliver praise and constructive criticism in equal measure and often do. For those with party affiliations that’s not so easy.
During the Peoples Action words were spoken by our QC which I intend to have framed and put on my wall. Not because they are right, but the reflect my opinion with perfect precision:
“Holding office makes you not a master, but a servant. A public servant of the people.”