I am writing in regards to
the suspension of Labour MSP Michael McMahon for a day from the Scottish Parliament.
Through all my education and medical practice I was repeatedly taught not to use correction fluid in record keeping as it shows an intent to hide mistakes rather than acknowledge them.
Indeed, it is generally believed unacceptable to present hospital records that have been altered in this way, therefore I score out errors and sign for the correction. Although I am not suggesting that the Scottish Parliament scores out statements made in error, those errors must be acknowledged in full as a matter of record.
It is important to know that debate can be influenced heavily by ministers’ statements and naive to conclude that simply erasing errors from history removes such influence.
The late Donald Dewar’s statement, whether I believe in his policies or not, was to encourage high standards in public office.
I must object to Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick’s misuse of that statement by Mr Dewar to, in effect, hide behind procedure.
Scotland must not allow the opportune, indeed routine, use of “correction fluid”, real or metaphorical, to its official records when such behaviour should be ideally discouraged in our high school classrooms.