SNP Politicians - Abusing Public Trust and Gaming the System

It's time for an honest discussion about councillors pay in Scotland because there's no doubt some individuals and their parties have been gaming the system - with the SNP the worst offenders by far.

Now I agree that councillors should be properly rewarded, but a sensible balance needs to be struck and someone independent of the politicians ought to be standing up for the public interest - to prevent a 'nose in the trough' free for all!

The present system lacks transparency and openness and while councils have to publish what councillors are paid - this does not extend to the time councillors spend in 2nd or 3rd jobs which are also paid from the public purse.    

Introducing Some of Scotland's 'Low Paid' Councillors (1) (May 16, 2022)

Mhairi lost her seat in the recent elections to Glasgow City Council, but who can forget former Cllr Mhairi 'Three Jobs' Hunter.

By my reckoning Mhairi was probably earning £45,000 to £50,000 as a senior Glasgow councillor, as a Member of Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS and as Nicola Sturgeon's 'Office Assistant'.

I did ask former Mhairi Hunter and Nicola Sturgeon to confirm the time commitment and cost of the Office Assistant post, but strangely both SNP politicians have declined to be open and transparent about this use of public money.

Mhairi Hunter - My Part In Her Downfall! (May 06, 2022)

I do hope I played a small part in the downfall of Mhairi Hunter, the former SNP councillor for Glasgow Southside Central.

Not out of any personal animus of course, but because I thought it was the height of arrogance for Mhairi and her boss Nicola Sturgeon to ignore my concerns about SNP politicians 'gaming the system' over councillors pay in Glasgow.

It's been a shameful, tawdry business and in my view these two experienced SNP politicians owe Glasgow an apology over their behaviour - see post below 'Glaswegian Heads Don't Button Up The Back'. 


Glaswegian Heads Don't Button Up The Back (April 28, 2022)

Cllr Mhairi Hunter's Convener role at Glasgow City Council is classified as a senior councillor position - in similar fashion to her SNP colleague Cllr Susan Aitken.

The council publishes a summary of councillors pay quarter by quarter instead of sharing what annual salaries have been agreed for senior (full-time) and backbench (part-time) councillors - see link below. 

Cllr Hunter's up to Quarter 3 of 2021/22 was £20,469.05 - so her annual salary is around £27,2300 (£20,469.05 divided by 3 and multiplied by 4).

Yet despite council convener role being classified as full-time and paid accordingly, Cllr Hunter doesn't declare the amount of her GCC salary - though she does record two other paid positions in the council's Register of Interests.
  • Member of Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board 
  • Part-time Office Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon, MSP for Glasgow Southside
The GCC register does not explain the time commitment or salary paid for either of these two jobs, but as a matter of public record Board Members of GGC NHS are paid around £9,000 a year for a time commitment of 1 day a week.  

I have written to Nicola Sturgeon and Cllr Hunter asking for an explanation because it seems absurd to me for elected councillors to be accepting full-time salaries from the public purse, if they have other external paid commitments.

Yet, despite all the talk about good government, openness and transparency neither SNP politician is willing to explain how a full-time councillor, with additional 1 day a week paid NHS commitment, can possibly manage to hold down a third job in a local MSP's office.

Is anyone looking out for the public pound and the public interest?

Sounds like a complete racket to me - a very bad practice which may not be breaking any laws or rules, but one that is morally indefensible and is having a corrupting effect on the independence of Scottish local government.   


It's A Fair Question, Nicola! (March 17, 2022)

I think we should be told how Cllr Mhairi Hunter manages her Glasgow council job which is paid a full-time salary - while also drawing another public salary as Office Assistant for Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP MSP and Scotland's first minister.


Transparent and Accountable - Who's Kidding Who? (February 26, 2022)

SNP politicians are forever boasting about their support for openness and transparency.

But when the chips are down the SNP are every bit as secretive, defensive and reluctant to be held accountable - just as Labour run Glasgow City Council were in 2011 and as the Westminster Tories are now.

Take my perfectly reasonable requests to Nicola Sturgeon and her 'office assistant', Cllr Mhairi Hunter.

I wrote to Nicola Sturgeon asking how she could justify using public money in this way when Cllr Hunter already had a well paid, full-time job as a senior councillor at SNP led Glasgow City Council.

No Answer.

I also wrote to Cllr Hunter directly asking broadly the same question because her role as a Council Convener is a city wide responsibility and is not restricted to her local ward of Southside Central.

No answer.

Now I think politicians should be held to account for their behaviour and use of public money which is why we are entitled to see what salaries and expenses councillors, MSPs, MPs get paid.

Politicians are also required to declare other interests and connections which must be registered and are subject to further scrutiny, as necessary.

So how can it be fair or reasonable to hide and withhold this particular information from public view and scrutiny? 

Other council workers, indeed other public sector workers, would not be allowed to behave in this way - there would be questions asked and rightly so, if they sought work or were required to work excessive/impossible hours.

Ironically, a row broke out recently over the hours a Green Minister, Lorna Slater, was being asked/expected to work at COP26 which lasted just two weeks!

In any event, there's more than one way to skin a cat and there's still plenty of time between now and the Glasgow council elections in May to keep highlighting the SNP's hypocrisy on this issue.   


Who's Kidding Who? (December 13, 2021)

A number of my regular blog readers have asked how Cllr Mhairi Hunter can be doing all her publicly funded jobs at the same time. 

I don't know, is the honest answer - seems impossible to me and although I have written to Cllr Hunter and her boss (Nicola Sturgeon) so far neither of them seems too willing to explain what is going on.

I did check on what health board members get paid and the answer is that their remuneration of £8,842 is based on a time commitment of 52 days per year or an average of 8 hours per week.

So that's a full-time role as a Convener in Glasgow City Council (@£28,000 plus expenses), another day a week at Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS (@£9,000) - a running total of @£37,000 - and still Cllr Hunter has had time to spend at Nicola Sturgeon's office in Glasgow Southside.

Who's kidding who?

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