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Lamont's jibes on health dampen session of peace and goodwill

THE last First Minister's Questions of term can normally be relied on for a flash of festive fangs, as the bloodlust rises and opposition leaders try to ruin Alex Salmond's holidays with a jolly good gouging.

PARTING SHOTS: The party leaders wished each other a happy Christmas but soon the knives were back out.
PARTING SHOTS: The party leaders wished each other a happy Christmas but soon the knives were back out.

Yesterday's seemed strangely tame, however.

Worse, MSPs were actually polite to each other.

Johann Lamont started the unnatural behaviour with this warped nonsense: "May I wish everyone - and I do mean everyone - a happy Christmas and a very peaceful New Year," she cooed.

It was sickening stuff.

Then the First Minister came down with the bug.

"Can I reciprocate Johann Lamont's Christmas greetings to everyone in the chamber," he smiled. Ugh!

But as gentle sobbing broke out in the press gallery, Ms Lamont suddenly revived and started blaming the Government for killing people.

The woman who can thaw a turkey with a hard stare was back.

It seems that folk are expiring at a furious clip in Lanarkshire because the health board is "in perpetual crisis", and the health secretary is "blaming everyone but himself", or so she said.

When was the FM going to take responsibility?

Mr Salmond hid his paper hat and looked stern.

Mortality figures were improving in Lanarkshire, just not as fast as elsewhere, he insisted.

But it's not just there, said Ms Lamont. Knackered staff, not enough beds, and skeleton weekend services are "endemic to Scotland", she said.

Mr Salmond tried to bury any trace of such problems in an avalanche of statistics.

There are 7000 more staff under the SNP and 85% of (surviving) patients are chuffed, he said.

Ms Lamont pointed like the ghost of Christmas yet to come: "Now the First Minister gets back to his comfort zone. Let this be a fight between politicians about numbers. Let's not worry staff say they can't do the job."

Would he commit to an NHS review?

No, but he would hide behind our NHS angels.

"Politicians respond to the health service by backing the nurses, backing the doctors and backing real resources," he bellowed.

SNP MSPs cheered, but for the FM to rely on that cliche, it was Ms Lamont who had the last ho.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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