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Live webchat with Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond, Tues 15 Feb, 1-2pm

(250 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 10-Feb-11 11:54:55

Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond is our guest for a live webchat on Tues 15 Feb.

Mr Salmond, who is MSP for Gordon, was first elected as MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987, and went on to become leader of the SNP in 2004 and an MSP in May 2007. He stood down as a Westminster MP in the last General Election to concentrate on his role as first minister.

His minority government has just got its final budget before the Scottish elections through the Scottish parliament, after striking a deal with the Lib Dems to boost student funding.

When he's not working, Mr Salmond enjoys horse racing, football, golf and reading.

We're very pleased to welcome him to Mumsnet. Please come and put your questions or, if you can't join him on Tues lunchtime at 1pm, post your question on this thread, as per usual.

Thanks
MNHQ

ACMDowding Thu 10-Feb-11 14:01:08

Mr Salmond
There is much specualtion about the possible closure of RAF bases in Scotland. (I personally am very much of the opinion that the Westminster government want all the military out of Scotland).

Given that the closures, convieniently aren't being announced until after the Scottish elections, if your party fails to win at the elections, will you urge and support the winning labour scottish government that will then be in power to fight the closures, or do you agree that at least one of the 3 needs to close?

Euphemia Thu 10-Feb-11 14:23:45

Can you explain to me how reducing my daughter's contact with a teacher by 10% per week is going to "enhance" her education? (I am referring to the current proposal by Renfrewshire Council.)

twinky Thu 10-Feb-11 17:06:24

Hello Mr Salmond. Can you tell me why my local council, Argyll & Bute, seem to find it acceptable to close most of our smaller, rural libraries because Holyrood has slashed their funding. I voted SNP at the last election but am told that my villages' fabulous tiny library with it's incredibly hardworking librarian is not viewed as a priority. Having attended several community meetings on the subject I am not at all impressed with my local councillors and would like to give you the opportunity to answer their assertions that it's all down to central funding. Thanks very much.

midnightexpress Thu 10-Feb-11 18:52:53

Euphemia, my understanding is that it's more than a 'proposal' in Renfrewshire. According to the BBC, Renfrewshire is definitely going ahead with a test of this from August. Is that right?

Mr Salmond, in view of this, and of North Ayrshire's discussion of a 4-day school week (which I assume is currently both unworkable and illegal), I'd like to know your views on the idea of P1 entry starting at 6 rather than 4 or 5 as at present. If savings need to be made, this seems to me like a potentially more beneficial and workable solution, given that it clearly works fine in many other European countries, and that there is research suggesting that starting school later may be of benefit to children, particularly boys.

Louii Fri 11-Feb-11 14:37:38

Hello Mr Salmond,
I wonder if you can tell me what the SNP government has done to protect hard working families in Scotland?

Beveridge Fri 11-Feb-11 15:04:28

How will the SNP support the implementation of the new Curriculum for Excellence with one of the most vital elements it needs (e.g cold, hard cash) in the current financial climate?

And will teaching pay and conditions as per the McCrone agreement be protected to ensure there is no disruption to the education of Scottish children in the coming years?

GentleOtter Fri 11-Feb-11 16:48:12

Welcome Mr Salmond,

Given that the Edinburgh tram project is an expensive disaster and entirely Edinburghcentric, would it not make more sense to divert funding towards making the A9 dual carriageway all the way to Wick?

Also, when will Scottish Tenant farmers be given the absolute right to buy and thus liberated from the feudal system which is still alive and active in 21st century Scotland?

KeepCalmAndCarryOnMNing Fri 11-Feb-11 18:32:36

Mr Salmond, how would you vote in the proposed AV referendum. Will the SNP be campaigning for or against AV for Westminster?

JollySergeantJackrum Fri 11-Feb-11 19:24:51

Mr Salmond, thank you for agreeing to come and chat with us.

Your party's main policy is independence for Scotland. Can you please explain why you believe Scotland should be independent? Wouldn't we all be worse off?

RRocks Fri 11-Feb-11 19:25:07

Mr Salmond,

Can you please explain the effect on Scottish universities of the UK government's changes to the funding of universities in England, and how the Scottish government intends to deal with that?

oricella Fri 11-Feb-11 19:34:20

I fully agree with GentleOtter that dualling the A9 (at least as far as Inverness) is a life saving priority and would dearly like to know when we can see some real action on this. It is very disheartening to see money wasted on the Edinburgh tram or completely pointless overtaking lanes.

My question concerns the railways: an hourly railway link between Inverness and the central belt would go a long way to providing a realistic alternative to travel by road. A compulsory stop of all trains at Inverkeithing will greatly improve access from the Highlands to edinburgh airport. What does the SNP intend to do to improve public transport links between the Highlands and the rest of Scotland?

GentleOtter Fri 11-Feb-11 22:06:20

Yes, oricella - I was thinking of parts of the northern A9 like the Berrydale Braes as well as the main A9 Inverness to Perth.

Shocking considering this is the main Wick/Thurso to Inverness road.

Louii Fri 11-Feb-11 23:23:28

The SNP did not want the tram at all, think they may have been outvoted on it or agreements may have already been in place before the last election.

prettybird Fri 11-Feb-11 23:59:40

You're right Louii - they did try to stop it but were outvoted on it.

prettybird Sat 12-Feb-11 00:00:32

.... the perils of being a minority administration hmm

ecosseman Sat 12-Feb-11 00:14:34

hello mr salmond,i would be great help if you could let the people know how much scotland raises in all combined taxes then sent to our som called london leaders.with all our fantastic natural resources harnessed together
and lowering taxes including vat(when we are independant)this must bring many new jobs to scotland.
less tax=more jobs.
offer a tax rebate to all scots that are currently paying every 4 years,taking some of the budget from social services(drugs&alcohol abusers)when these poor souls hear that they can get a cash rebate for working+wages just watch them go.
best wishes.
mg

Louii Sat 12-Feb-11 00:31:51

I also thought it was somewhat petty that the labour party in Scotland would not vote for the SNP policy for the introduction of a minimum pricing for alcohol, yet what are they agreeing with at Westminster, hmmmm!

doricpatter Sat 12-Feb-11 09:04:15

Re the trams, I realise that the SNP were always against it. But I wonder (probably quite naively) why we can't pull the plug on the whole thing? I'm fairly sure that general public feeling would be in favour of walking away from what's turning into a grotesque waste of public funds, not to mention the disruption caused thus far.

Also, on transport, is Mr Salmond aware of the current shenanigans at Moy? £2.6 million wasted on creating a breathtakingly dangerous section of road. It has to be seen to be believed - the overtaking lane is so short it's pointless, and I firmly believe that the "design improvements" we've been promised (read: more paint on the road) will do nothing to improve safety. How Transport Scotland can be allowed to create yet another blackspot on an already frighteningly dangerous route is beyond belief - any lay person can identify the inherent problems with the layout yet presumably some highly paid road planner came up with this? Surely someone should be held to account for wasting vital funds like this - spending money on overtaking lanes is wasteful anyway, given we've been repeatedly promised full dualling in the future.

I could start on about the classroom assistants scandal, and I'd love to get into the fuel regulator discussion (because we evidently can't rely on that obsequious ginger rodent for support), but I'll stop now. I'm a big fan - keep up the good work grin

DanJARMouse Sat 12-Feb-11 12:42:08

Hello!

Can you please advise why anything north of Inverness gets forgotten about?!

Transport links especially are beyond atrocious, and now there is reviews left right and centre for taknig away classroom assistants (small victory this week!) and merging schools (am in Thurso btw)

The state of our roads are appalling, the priority of gritting and ploughing in bad weather is all to pot and to be honest, its all going a bit pete tong here!

Come on Mr Salmond, why exactly should I vote for you on 5th May?!

LisMcA Sat 12-Feb-11 14:29:28

Hello Mr Salmond,

Firstly I think its great that you are taking the time to joins us here on Mumsnet.

I would like to know your opinions on the Westminster proposal for the NHS budgets, for England and Wales, being managed by GPs? Is this a route you can see the Scottish Government taking?

Also, with the consideration of moving to a National Police force for the whole of Scotland, what do you see happening to the individual forces administration centres (Non-Emergency contact centres being one)? Will these be consolodated and relocated to a central location or should local knowledge remain local?

PeggyGuggenheim Sat 12-Feb-11 14:31:59

Hello Mr Salmond
I live in Falkirk. We are incredibly fortunate in that none of our libraries, community centres, schools or leisure centres are going to have to close. There was a proposal in the budget to shut all libraries on Saturday afternoons, but an emailing / Facebook campaign secured something of a reprieve. It was explained to us that a Council Tax freeze (imposed by the Scottish Government) has left the local authorities in a fix. I for one have always been delighted to get the letter telling me the Council Tax is frozen, but I would happily pay a few quid more if it was going to protect services! And don't the poorest get help with Council Tax? So who would lose out, really, if you allowed local authorities to raise Council Tax? Thank you for reading this.

IHeartLeith Sat 12-Feb-11 20:48:01

Hello. Thanks for taking the time to answer some of these questions. I'd like to ask how you intend to vote on the SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville's motion for a ban on large scale biomass plants in residential areas?

As a resident of Leith I am very concerned about the proposal for a biomass plant in our area; in particular about the effect on the already poor air quality and the inevitable traffic increase.

Thanks in anticipation.

boofle Sat 12-Feb-11 21:03:41

Mr Salmond,
I am delighted that you are taking the time from what must be an extremely busy schedule to join this forum. What a wonderful endorsement for Mumsnet!
I live in Renfrewshire and much has been made of the recent decision to replace 2.5hrs of the school week with people who are professionals in the field of drama, art, sport etc. Many people are blaming the council tax freeze for the council having to make this decision and say they would be willing to pay more. I happen to think this idea could be good for my children - just take a look at other European countries or Australia, where the curriculum does not only centre around academia, but takes a more rounded and vocational approach. I am also happy with he council tax freeze, although I know it will go up again at some point. However, there are many parents who ARE worried about this and my question is: how much would our council tax go up to cover cuts that are being made and how much has the freeze contributed to the current financial position of councils?
I look forward to your answer and thank you in anticipation.

pointydog Sat 12-Feb-11 21:04:42

You should increase council tax. Many people can't bear to see all these cuts to public services.

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