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Andy Philip: Murdo Fraser took his eye off the ball with Seville jolly

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser (foreground) laughs during Topical Questions at the Scottish Parliament (Photo: Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser (foreground) laughs during Topical Questions at the Scottish Parliament (Photo: Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

What is your politician doing today?

Are you worried they could be at risk of doing something other than the day job? For Murdo Fraser, this has been a constant worry.

The Conservative MSP has been a thorn in the side of the first minister, frequently chiding her for straying from devolved responsibilities or falling short at Holyrood. Mr Fraser leaps on every chance to amplify claims Nicola Sturgeon’s eye is off the ball.

And, so, it comes to pass with little sense of irony that Mr Fraser himself has slipped off to Seville to keep his eye on the football. Staunch Rangers fan that he is, he clearly didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to see his team at the Europa League final.

He’s clearly not worried about taking time off, either. Our intrepid politician wrote a diary about it in a national newspaper.

If you really want to know, it’s full of observations such as how quickly fans “hushed up” the “one Scottish lad” who started singing Ten German Bombers near Frankfurt fans.

There’s some lovely holiday snaps on his Twitter feed.

Should Sturgeon really be criticised for Washington trip?

In the height of the pandemic, Fraser would lament about how Ms Sturgeon was failing to turn up at her desk. She didn’t come to the Scottish Parliament to answer questions, he complained.

It’s hardly a surprise that the leader of the Scottish Government would repeat her central ambition to senior politicians in other countries

Now Ms Sturgeon has flown off to the States to – deep breath here – do things which are “reserved to Westminster”, like promoting Scotland abroad. A bit like all the previous first ministers, SNP and Labour.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon jetted off recently – to represent Scotland in Washington DC (Photo: PA)

You don’t have to agree with the first minister on policies, including independence. That’s not what this is about.

But it’s hardly a surprise that the leader of the Scottish Government would repeat her central ambition to senior politicians in other countries. It would be a shock if she didn’t talk up her argument, among other things.

If you want to take a holiday, ask the boss

Now, it’s at this point you probably expect a po-faced comment about constituents being let down; a finger-wagging exercise in which no one is allowed any fun. Well, you’d be half right.

Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross, memorably gave up a dream gig refereeing at the World Cup to pursue his day job in politics. It was clearly a gut-wrenching decision. And, frankly, most people would have chucked the other job and gone to the football.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross chose politics over the beautiful game (Photo: Fabio De Paola/Shutterstock)

But, if you want to come to parliament and hold everyone to the standards you won’t keep, tough.

And, if you want to take a holiday, ask the boss. No, not the party – the entire country. And not just your own supporters. It could even be a referendum.


Andy Philip is Head of Politics for The Press & Journal and The Courier

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