Here’s Mackay’s opener and, critically the reference to Freedom of Information:

HOLYROOD politicians need to remember one thing: we’re their boss, the Scottish people. We pay their wages, we own the buildings they work in and the seats they sit on and the telephones they use. They are accountable to us in every single thing they do in public office – every penny spent, every policy proposed, every meeting held. Our governing class seems to have forgotten that. In April, the SNP used the passage of emergency coronavirus legislation to seriously undermine transparency, public scrutiny of government, and Freedom of information (FoI).

First, that reference to the Scottish people is laughable. Remember we’re talking about delay not prohibition. Most FoI requests are made by opposition party researchers and Unionist media hacks trawling for something, anything, they can find to undermine the reputation of the Scottish Government, the SNP, or any of the institutions they are responsible for, especially NHS Scotland, Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service. Here are some reports on that practice:

FM visit to Auschwitz: Update on Freedom of Information Request

Charitable freedom of information service ‘WhatDoTheyKnow.com’ used by Unionist covert ‘volunteers’ to target SNP/SG?

How BBC Scotland digs for dirt with Freedom of Information requests to the Scottish Government yet will not respond to any themselves

Exposed: The hypocrisy of Reporting Scotland’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests shamelessly digging for dirt to make up scare stories about NHS Scotland

Here’s an extract from the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020:

The circumstances that public authorities across Scotland currently
face are unprecedented, and we are wholly sympathetic to the
pressures that the COVID-19 pandemic will be placing on public
institutions, structures, resources and staff. Meeting the current 20
working day FOI timescales in circumstances where premises are
closed, where information may be inaccessible, where staff are absent,
or where organisations face unprecedented demands for essential
services will undoubtedly create significant challenges for many
organisations.

Is that unreasonable? If you think that’s an attack on democracy, you need to move.

Here is more detail:

Amendments to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
23.During the passage of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill, The Minister for Europe and International Development said:


“The Government recognises that transparency is of paramount
importance in the current circumstances.”
24.The information rights enshrined in the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
2002 (“FOISA”) are of the highest importance for ensuring the openness and
transparency of public services in Scotland during the present emergency.
25.However, as the Scottish Information Commissioner (“the Commissioner”) put it in his briefing on the Bill:
“The circumstances that public authorities across Scotland currently
face are unprecedented, and we are wholly sympathetic to the
pressures that the COVID-19 pandemic will be placing on public
institutions, structures, resources and staff. Meeting the current 20
working day FOI timescales in circumstances where premises are
closed, where information may be inaccessible, where staff are absent,
or where organisations face unprecedented demands for essential
services will undoubtedly create significant challenges for many
organisations.”
26.The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 therefore makes a number of temporary modifications to FOISA which will ‘sunset’ after the Covid-19 emergency period. These are designed to give Scottish public authorities (within the meaning of FOISA) the breathing space that they need to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, while ensuring that information rights are protected.
5 Changes to the law
27.The Act does not amend the duty on public authorities to continue to respond promptly to requests for information.
28.The measures in the Act:
 extend the upper time limit for responding to requests and reviews
under FOISA from 20 working days to 60 working days;
 enable the Commissioner to take into account the effect of coronavirus
on authorities when deciding appeals where authorities have failed to
comply with the timescales for responding;
 enable authorities and the Commissioner to issue formal notices by
electronic means.
29.Additionally, the Act confers powers on the Scottish Ministers to introduce an ability for authorities to extend deadlines further. These powers may be exercised if the circumstances change and it is necessary to do so. The Ministers must consult with the Commissioner before exercising the powers.
Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004
30.These temporary measures apply only to FOISA. The Environmental
Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (“EIRs”) are unaffected by them.
31.Accordingly, EIRs requests and reviews continue to have to be dealt with as soon as possible, and no later than 20 working days after receipt – although it remains possible to extend the deadline for EIRs requests by a further period of up to 20 working days, if the volume and complexity of the information requested makes it impracticable to respond within the original 20 working day period.
Changes come into effect from Tuesday 7 April
32.From Tuesday 7 April, the temporary upper time limit of 60 working days will apply to all requests and reviews under FOISA, including ongoing requests and reviews.
Actions for Scottish public authorities
33.Scottish public authorities will wish to:
 make their FOI case handlers aware of these changes
 update internal systems, templates and guidance accordingly
6 Does this mean that all requests and reviews will take longer to answer?
34.No. The duty to respond promptly is unaffected by the Act. In many cases, this will mean that authorities continue to respond well in advance of the 60th working day, just as they responded well in advance of the 20th working day previously.
Further information about what the changes mean for Scottish public authorities
35.The Scottish Information Commissioner has undertaken to publish guidance
for Scottish public authorities in the near future.
36.The Scottish Government’s Freedom of Information Unit leads on FOI policy issues. For further information about the changes in the Act, contact:
Graham Crombie, Head of Policy and Casework, Freedom of Information
Unit, Scottish Government, Email: Graham.Crombie@gov.scot
Sector specific measures included in the Act
37.Besides these general provisions, designed to ease pressure on all public
services, the Act contains a large number of measures to address specific
challenges and issues arising from the national emergency affecting various
parts of Scottish society and the delivery of public services
38.Annex A provides a full summary of measures in the Act. Annex B provides a summary of Scottish Government guidance in relation to specific measures and contact information for Scottish Government colleagues who may be able to provide further information.