aWatt_Maureen_MSPGovernment minister, Maureen Watt, who is 66 years old, travelled to give a talk about taking exercise and how good it was for your health. The distance between her office and the venue was just under a mile. She took a taxi and charged it to ministerial expenses. The cost to us was £4,68.

There were those who cried “hypocrisy”. After all, taking a taxi to a venue where you are giving a talk about physical fitness for health… Well, it does leave you open to criticism, at least from the hard of thinking.

Of course, there is no reason why she couldn’t have walked, but in fairness, it might have taken her half an hour or so, dressed, as she was, to give a talk.

Half an hour of ministerial time is worth a very good deal more than £4,68 in financial terms. I know that if I were in that situation my boss would prefer me to be at my desk instead of out for a stroll.

It is fair to mention too, that Ms Watt suffers from Asthma which might have slowed her progress. An ex-boss of mine, younger than Ms Watt by 10 years, suffered from asthma and was unable to walk very far (certainly not 0,9 miles) without recourse to a puffer. Perhaps not the handiest of situations when you are going to give a talk.

STV have made much of it and of course, there is no show without the Tories, who under the leadership of the Colonel would have yomped the distance in no time, dressed in camouflage gear and waving their automatics.

So it was left to the Scottish Conservative ‘shadow’ health secretary, Miles Briggs to put in his two pennyworth of erm… common sense: “This is another classic example of SNP hypocrisy,” he opined righteously.

“Clearly this minister thinks she can dish out lectures on an active lifestyle yet she sees it fit not only to take a miniscule taxi journey but charge taxpayers for the privilege.

“It’s time for SNP ministers to practice what they preach.”

Good one, Miles. Sharp as a tack and on the button doing your job as Conservative spokesperson on Health.

Or it would have been, except for the fact that Ms Watt isn’t the only one to claim a tiny taxi fair from the great Scottish public, is she Miles:


As Munguin’s dear old Grandad would say… Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t cook in the nude.

Common sense, did old Miles say?

(Thanks to Dan Paris for the last illustration.)



43 thoughts on “I CAN GO FOR ‘MILES’ IN A TAXI”

  1. Actually, I think it’s a naked and deliberate propaganda ploy by the Usual Suspects. It usefully distracts us all from and wastes our time with absolute irrelevancies, picayune poppycock and arrant nonsense.

    I understand that that Elizabeth Truss said “broad shoulders of the UK” in relation to funding for Scotland’s railways. This is of course an instant red alert, because – I have said this elsewhere, so sue me for repeating myself – it’s one of those catch phrases such as “I have every confidence in X”, which means that X will be gone within the week. “Broad shoulders” means “We have thought of another way to stiff you while making out that it’s all your fault”.

    So They kick up a stooshie over bawbees while they prepare to short-change us by £600 million for the railways, our own money that they will be magnanimously letting us have back thanks to the “broad shoulders” of the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always get the impression when Tory ministers talk about how they fund things in Scotland, that they have forgotten that we actually pay taxes here.


      1. On here, we’ve been scoffing at the Tory twits and their silly and hypocritical accusations, because that is what they are, and we recognize them as such.

        BUT: Joan and Joe Public don’t know that. All they will ever see are the headlines about SNP minister charging the taxpayer to cross the street in a taxi. Nothing else. They will not hear that the woman suffers from asthma. They will not hear that she is 66 years old. They will not hear that the idiot Briggs is on record for claiming piddling little taxi fares to go a short distance. They will not have it pointed out to them that if you are going to an engagement, it doesn’t look good for a Minister or an MSP to walk there in a thunderplout and arrive looking like a drowned rat.

        The question is: is the Briggs just an idiot, or is he a useful idiot? Is he coming out with some ESSEMPEEBAD nonsense on general principles, as a knee-jerk reaction without thinking it through, or is it part of the Usual Suspects’ deliberate propaganda campaign against us independentistas?

        Serious journalists in the States have worked out that when the Mango Mussolini gives vent to some outrageous tweet, makes some appalling statement, and grabs the news headlines in whatever way he can, it’s not just – maybe not even – the Donald being his usual disgusting self, it means he’s trying to distract attention from something. As I pointed out just now, in this stooshie over £4.68, Joan and Joe Public will miss the £600 million being filched from our transport budget for the railways (reserved, right? Network Rail, not Network Rail Scotland).

        Let me say it another way: we must not be so quick to laugh at them, and assume it’s just the usual hypocrisy and idiocy: we must assume right from the start that it’s a cover for something else, that it’s being used to “submarine” some REAL issue. (I nicked “submarine” as a verb from one of the American news shows I watch – it seems to me like a good expression for submerging important stuff in an ocean of trivia.

        Only if we can’t find anything They are covering up for can we safely assume that it’s just the usual idiocy and hypocrisy, and even then – who knows what we may find out later… I don’t think you have to be in tinfoil hat territory (no laughing at the back there!) to warn that we underestimate our enemies at our peril.

        Just to make a statement of the bleedin’ obvious, the corollary for all this is that we ourselves must always be truthful. This is a propaganda war; at stake are the hearts and minds of our fellow Scots. Again, we underestimate our enemies at our peril. And we really need a proper public broadcaster free of political influence of any kind.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Very good points Ed.

          You’re absolutely right.

          I never actually look at Scottish papers any more, but I imagine that nothing about the ministers age or state of health were mentioned.

          I wonder if today Mr Briggs’ record of using taxis is being publicised? Doubt it. Or the fact that Ruth charges us for the taxi to take her to work from home.

          And, although I don’t imagine that they would use a no mark like Briggs to cover up other stuff they are doing, they surely do it.

          Oh look… The SNP have charged £4,60 for a taxi… mumble mumble so you’re gettinga little less for railways becasue we are over spending rather a lot on the English ones.

          But just imagine how proud you will all be to see Mr Fox and Ms Middleton on a new royal yacht.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I missed the bit about the new Royal Yacht, not that I’m all that interested! Although Miles Briggs is a cipher, one of the uses of useful idiots is that they can make accusations that won’t attract the same amount of scrutiny that they would if the Colonel herself made them…

            Sorry, I seem to have put my tinfoil hat down somewhere, must have been spirited away by Tory Party Dirty Tricks Office.

            …and as they don’t have any reputations worth speaking of to defend, it does no harm anyway if they’re shown up for liars, hypocrites and fools.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, lovely munguin’s followers. This is O/T and I am crap at posting links but would urge you please go to marksimonfrankland.blogspot.co uk – he is trying to raise money for the First Base Agency food bank in Dumfries and still short of target. For the next 9/10 days a group called creatomatic will match any funding received so will double any bawbees you can spare! Please help if you can.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We actually ran a story on this a few weeks ago and mentioned the book he has written to support it (which by the way is a fantastic read), but very happy to advertise it again.

      Thanks for the reminder. Munguin will dig deep for his credit card!


      1. I know – I always read your blog! Just hoped you and your readers wouldn’t mind an update and a chance to share. First Base is a cause dear to my heart so even if folks can’t afford to donate I hoped they could share, tell friends, etc. Thanks Tris!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Very welcome. I know some of our readers make donations there.

          Another helpful thing folk could do is, if you buy the book, and enjoy it, leave a review on Amazon.


  3. So it’s all over twitter but will the people who read it on STV news be aware of Miles Briggs own failings?- naw! I can usually walk about a mile but having had dinner, bed and breakfast at one of the NHS’ finest establishments this year with asthma (and narrowly missing out on some other stays) I won’t be walking anywhere in today’s peeing rain thanks. And I’m not 66! Admittedly on a bus/car rather than taxi but then I’m not a government minister with a packed diary.

    BTW I’m perfectly happy for Brad Pitt to cook in the nude in a glasshouse.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, I’m sure that STV won’t bother following up their story about taxis and the SNP with one about taxis and the Tories.

      But that’s life.

      Next time Munguin is on the phone to Brad Pitt, he’s promised to let him know about the cooking in the nude thing…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Most of my contemporaries could not make the journey in the time allotted and a lot of younger people including the unfit Tory by the look of him could not make it either. Did the chappie not think when making his attention seeking statement that people would then examine his expenses with a fine tooth-comb? Quite amusing really.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tell you what, Tris, I’m a taxpayer who’d be more than happy to pay for a whole fleet of tumbrils to take Ruth and her fellow Tory aristos for a short, final ride, at the end of which it wouldn’t be public services that would be getting drastically chopped.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Isn’t that the cost of a taxi crossing the street in Edinburgh? I know the roads can get busy but there are crossings for pedestrians.

    Does this Briggs plonker realise that making a twat of himself reporting trivia and toadying to his superiors like this gives him a deficit in the credibility department. Maybe he didn’t have any credibility to start with right enough but even at that it is certainly a new level of barrel scraping, even for a Tory.

    And they wonder why folk have lost faith in politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. And, I’m really wondering why we are paying for water, or tissues for people.

          I’ve always had water at work; not once have my employers paid for it.. and what kinda water costs £3.60? Most people need tissues from time to time, but I wonder how many charge their employers for wiping their noses. I may sometimes have bought a newspaper but again I’ve never charged it to my employers.


  6. Hi good job guys . I saw it on Facebook this morning and found all the details which given it was a Tory were either going to damn him or catch him fiddling, I couldn’t find where the original article was written. Well done for pulling him up anyway. They may get away with their hypocrisy down sout with the English press but if you pull any of us you better be clean as a new born baby yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think it goes a bit deeper than that. It says to me they have little to do. Keeping track of such minutiae is not on a busy person’s agenda. You buy a stamp. You buy tissues etc. etc. At the end of the month when filling in the expenses form, who remembers that stuff? They can only be filling in some form of aide memoir as they go.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, I was imagining that one of their staff would do it, but right enough, buying one stamp is something the member must have done on their own. Must have noted and claimed it, depsite being on £60,000 +


    2. I dunno … if it were me, I’d bung all the receipts I might want to claim in one compartment of my wallet, where they would inevitably become contaminated with all sorts of other detritus – sweetie papers, laundry receipts, anonymous people’s phone numbers and a Kenyan coin that won’t fit in any coin-operated machine I’ve tried so far.

      I would then give the various dog-eared receipts a cursory glance – maybe – when it came up my back, then chuck the lot at some bod, whose time wasn’t as well remunerated as mine, for them to check… in other words, yes, I expect the odd thing might be in there that shouldn’t, but conversely, there would be loads of things not in there that could have been, because I didn’t bother getting a receipt, dropped it, used it to write a Homeric ode, snorted cocaine with…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL. A good PA would advise you that it would be inappropriate to claim for some stuff, and possibly illegal to claim for other stuff. But, who knows what their PAs are like.

        Your wallet sounds as messy as mine, although there are no Kenyan coins.


        1. The Kenyan coin is now in the same jar as the ringgit, but there’s still no sign of them reproducing. No, of course a decent PA would know all that, but with the best will in the world, if you’ve got 147 grubby taxi receipts to sort out, it’s more than likely that a stray one will find its way through… but where’s the sense of proportion? Does no one remember the parliamentary expenses scandal? What was it some MP put through – tens of thousands for clearing the moat round his duckhouse or landscaping his ha-ha or something?

          I still don’t know, though – was this taxi business just more of the usual nonsense from the Usual Suspects, or another deliberate ploy, and part of the propaganda war? We can laugh at it in scorn, because we’ve got wise to it; but Jean and Joe Public are never going to find out anything to the contrary, because they’ll never hear it on air or read it in the press with anything to balance the usual ESSEMPEEBAD.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Again, fair enough, but the expenses office should check that expenditure and they should know what is permissible and what is not.

            Apparently, in London, MPs were treated with such reverence that, no one dared challenge their expenses. So people got away with heating their tennis courts and providing luxury accommodation for their ducks.

            From my visits to Edinburgh, I could see that no one really expected to be treated like they were something special.

            I remember on one occasion having lunch in the cafeteria there. There was a big table that seated 8 people and it was populated by the then Finance Secretary, some people who might have been office workers and two blokes in overalls who it turned out were washing the windows.

            I had stood in a queue next to Jack McConnell and a Liberal Dem MSP.

            Anyway, it’s up to us, here on the bogosphere and on Twitter to make sure that this kind of thing gets out.


    3. Katherine it wouldn’t matter if they recited The Complete Works of Shakespeare in Swahili it would all sound exactly the same. The point is that he called the SNP woman a hypocrite thinking no doubt that he would get a few column inches in some Union rag which he did and I bet he I now wishing he hadn’t. For him it was probably a few easy points that could get him noticed if Westminster kidnap Ruth. He has been bounced about so much since yesterday his taxi driver probably mentioned it this morning.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suppose, with the British system of totally adversarial politics you can’t blame them for trying.

        It seems to me that if the best you have on someone is that they spent £4.60 on a taxi to get to a lecture (even though you’ve done it yourself) then what that says is that the minister is actually doing a rather good job.

        It’s not like they are, say, making A and E departments open only to those with referrals from doctors or anything batshit like that, which incidentally, their own party is considering in England.

        As I said on Twitter, the English proposal does seem to go like this: Have a heart attack; make an appointment to see your GP; wait three weeks; get referred to A and E… or you could just cut out the middleman and phone the undertaker.


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