Monday, June 07, 2010

'Could the minister tell the house who ate all the pie?'

I worry sometimes that this blog does not carry enough stories from the Scottish Parliament. To remedy this state of affairs, here's one: the subsidised restaurant may shut because MSPs prefer pie, chips and beans from the canteen.

Holyrood chiefs are considering closing the restaurant, which is subsidised by the taxpayer, because too few MSPs eat there to make it a going concern.

The eatery offers healthy dishes sourced from the finest Scottish produce, but most MSPs prefer the more calorific, mass-produced dishes on offer in the staff canteen.

Happy the land, you may think, that has politicians that closely represent the populace. I remember working in Dundee a decade or so ago. There was a large Asda store nearby: the small deli counter offering olives, cheeses and so on was dwarfed by pie counter – or 'peh coonter' if you want to get a reasonable approximation of the local accent – that was several metres in length.

When the history of Holyrood comes to be written, there could well be a chapter on pies. A few years ago the arts minister lost his job after he told MSPs he had been late for question time because he was at an Arts Council meeting; in fact he had been eating a pie in the canteen.

There is the wider questions of whether the powers that be at Holyrood have tried to make MSPs something they are not. Before the gourment restaurant that no one uses, there was the issue of the "think pods". These are, effectively, window seats built into MSPs' offices. The idea was that MSPs would sit in them, looking out across the city of Edinburgh and and the people of Scotland.

The intention was that this vista would inspire them to think about how they could best serve the nation. The problem was that the pods were too narrow for many of the pie-loving parliamentarians.

Labels: , , ,