Alex Johnstone: First, I want to talk about the Labour Party and what it proposes in its motion. It is a disappointment that, once again, the rump of the Scottish Labour Party has come to the Parliament and demonstrated that it neither understands nor can cope with the notion of opposition.
Jackie Baillie: Will the member give way?
Alex Johnstone: The tradition in this Parliament is that if a member mentions someone in their speech, they give them a chance to reply—so I give way to the rump of the Scottish Labour Party.
– A taste of the quality of debate from Alex Johnstone MSP. Much as I sympathise with anyone debating with Jackie Baillie…
So Alex Johnstone’s disengaged his cavernous maw and yawped his complete and utter defiance in the face of human decency in respect to his hatchet job on the Weirs. This is to be expected, of course: Johnstone has a history of some really preposterous exultations.
On school discipline:
School discipline is reaching crisis point and giving individual headteachers the power to decide whether or not to use capital punishment would be a good move.
This issue is certainly worthy of debate in the Scottish parliament because it is one that needs to be dealt with.
– The Times, 23rd September 2008
I’m pretty sure it’s either a typo on The Times’ part or a Freudian slip by Johnstone, but part of me genuinely wouldn’t be surprised if the Conservatives thought hanging would be suitable punishment for skidging school.
On Holyrood powers:
“It became kind of obvious that it was just a matter of time before Scotland became independent, and I was old enough to think very seriously about the circumstances we were in, and the question was simply do you want this to happen or are you willing to stand up and speak out against it? So I stood up and spoke out against it and have been an outspoken opponent of Scottish separation ever since.”
“I have always looked on devolution as a process, rather than a line in the sand, and I believe that Scotland’s Parliament and Scotland’s Government should enjoy greater powers over time as and when they demonstrate their ability to wield these powers effectively and responsibly. That progressive approach is what will yield an increasingly self-governing Scotland, and so it should.”
– SCPO Interview, Febryary 2012
It seems somewhat bizarre for someone to want an “increasingly self-governing Scotland” yet be “an outspoken opponent of Scottish separation.” But then, that’s been the great Liberal Democrat dilemma for a century now.
On ATOS tragedies:
“Nobody could fail to be moved by many of the stories that have been brought to the committee. But many of the stories we have heard are anecdotal. It is difficult to find a statistical or empirical set of figures to tell us exactly what these problems are.”
– Daily Record, 27th September, 2012
Couldn’t have been because of a systematic failure to record statistics since 2011, after the shocking number of deaths suggest that his colleague Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms might not quite be the godsend the Conservatives would have us believe?
On what he thinks Scots think of the Bedroom Tax:
“The majority of people across Scotland support these changes and appreciate that they are desperately needed for everyone’s sake. People realise welfare reform has long been required and it has to be simplified and made much fairer. Successive governments had allowed this to spiral out of control.”
– STV, 12th April 2013
Of course, one has to wonder how seriously he takes the matter: after all, he deemed it more important to welcome Japanese cricket players than to meet people who have suffered under the welfare reforms.
On Equal Marriage:
“During my lifetime, I have seen society beginning to fall apart. That’s why I would argue that one of the priorities of this parliament should be to strengthen families, to find ways to reinforce marriage and to make sure that we reverse the trends of half-a-century and more, in order to gain that stability. That’s why I worry that we are making this a wrong priority at the wrong time.”
– BBC, 20th November 2013
“The only viable way to ensure an interconnected high speed rail between the Central Belt and England is by remaining part of the UK. If Scotland was to separate from Britain there would be no reason for the UK to move beyond the current plan of Leeds and Manchester.”
– The Telegraph, 24th April 2014
One wonders how Johnstone believes Belgium manages to have High Speed connections with France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Also, interesting to note that apparently Scottish independence would give the UK no reason to extend to Newcastle, York, Carlisle, or anywhere north of Leeds. Also also, kind of difficult for Scotland to separate from Britain, unless you think the First Minister’s going to start up all the windmills and float the entire land to Bermuda.
“The fact the number of Scots who have never worked has increased by a fifth is a sad indictment on our society.
“It proves that a culture of worklessness has been allowed to develop by successive governments. Neither Labour nor the SNP have any intention whatsoever of taking the tough decisions needed to make sure these statistic improves.”
– The Telegraph, 7th May 2014
But not, presumably, the Conservative governments which devastated industry and employment over three decades.
No, of course not!