​Avoid iPadgate and leave the teenage kids at home next time, Michael - Vladimir McTavish

Children can run up large online roaming charges on holiday abroadChildren can run up large online roaming charges on holiday abroad
Children can run up large online roaming charges on holiday abroad
​Most of us are familiar with the old cliche that “a week is a long time in politics”, usually when some seismic event happens overnight.

​ This must have seemed like a very long week for Michael Matheson for the opposite reason. Nothing has happened, except the Holidaygate saga rumbling on.

Another cliche is that “all political careers end in failure”. Actually, political careers tend to end in either scandal or tragedy. Some end in farce. In the case of Michael Matheson, this farce has turned into the longest running show in town. Or the longest running football game on his kids’ iPad. However, I sincerely hope Michael Matheson’s career is not brought to an end by all of this. I think he has suffered enough.

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Let’s face it, no-one really enjoys going on a family holiday with a bunch of moaning teenagers. It really would put the tin lid on seven days from Hell with the truculent brats to come home and find out you were getting the sack because of their behaviour.

Family holidays with teenagers are no fun for either the parents or the kids. No fifteen- year-old wants to spend time with their folks. I remember having to endure endless boring day trips to places such as Culzean Castle, when I wanted to be doing something genuinely exciting like hanging round bus stops smoking with my mates.

In all the noise surrounding iPadgate, four questions remain unanswered.

First off. What kind of tariff was he on? Even with an out-of-date SIM card and overseas roaming charges, how is it possible to rack a bill of eleven grand in a week?

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All of the focus until now has been on Matheson, and rightly so. Douglas Ross is outraged. But Douglas Ross lives in a state of permanent outrage. There should be equal outrage at the extortionate sums charged by the mobile networks.

Second, what has happened to modern parenting? Matheson said he didn’t reveal the reason behind the bill because he wanted to protect his family. I’d have thrown the little s**** under the bus right away. My own father would have leathered me if I’d done something like that.

Not that it was possible to do anything like that on holiday in Saltcoats in the seventies. There were limits to the financial damage children could cause their parents in those pre-digital days. Our only link to the outside world was the phone box in the dingy hallway of the bed & breakfast.

Third, did he know what his kids were up to? Young people these days are infinitely more tech-savvy than their parents. I have a friend who works in digital marketing. On holiday, he ran up a bill in the thousands due to his six-year-old daughter using his iPad as a hotspot to stream cartoons on her device, without his knowledge.

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Finally what game were they watching? Seven grand to watch a match? They could have taken return flights to the World Cup in Qatar and got seats in hospitality for that kind of money.

Imagine if they were watching some mid-table SPFL match, where the only entertainment was the crowd shouting dog’s abuse at the fat Tory linesman. If so, Douglas Ross is right to be outraged.

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