Thursday 6 December
St Andrews Day Celebrations
Despite the wet and windy weather hundreds of people came along to celebrate our patron saint and carry a torch for the St Andrews Torchlight Parade.
As ever Michael Dale and his team ensured the event was full of colour and spectacle.
The Parade is part of the winter festivals programme and keeps getting better every year.
Our Lord Provost Eva Bolander led the parade along with David Hayman who was representing the charity Spirit Aid which was the recipient of support from the Parade last year.
It’s great to see so many people taking part in this fantastic annual event and I’m looking forward to next year’s parade!
Best Start – Correction
Apologies to readers trying to access the Best Start grant from the link I included in a previous Ebrief. Unfortunately the link was incorrect and I have been assured that the following link will work https://www.mygov.scot/pregnancy-and-baby-payment/ please let me know if you have any problems.
Small Business Saturday
I headed for Great Western Road to meet and offer my support for Small Business Saturday marked on 1 December. The day encourages people to shop locally and support their local businesses.
First stop was Solly’s African Village. What a wonderful array of products and comparing the prices to other retailers exceptionally reasonable!
Solly has been trading on Great Western Road for more than 30 years offering gifts and produce from Africa and the Carribean. Check out their website here: https://www.sollysafricanvillage.co.uk/
Next stop Paulin Watches a watch company specialising in high quality, design-led watches. The brainchild of 3 sisters, production began in late 2014.
The Paulin sisters were inspired by their great grandfather; George Henry Paulin, a distinguished sculptor who worked throughout both World Wars across London and Glasgow, with strong artistic roots. Find them here: https://www.paulinwatches.com/
From there I headed for Liquorice Tree to meet the manager Helen.
Liquorice Tree Gifts opened in the summer of 2013 in Glasgow’s West End, next to the Kelvinbridge subway station on Great Western Road.
The store offers a gorgeous range of gifts to suit every person and occasion. Their business has been so successful that they have grown their brand and opened another branch in Edinburgh’s city centre.
I’d highly recommend this shop for some beautiful and quirky gifts. You can have a look at their stock here: https://www.liquoricetree.com/
Next stop Valhalla’s Goat and their incredible stock of fine wines, craft beers and spirits.
An original independent wine and spirit merchant in the west end with some incredibly knowledgeable staff who are on hand to answers any of your questions and offer suggestions on what to select!
I went for the Glas-Wee-Gin and some craft beers all beautifully packaged. Have a look for yourself at https://www.valhallasgoat.com/
Finally I stopped by west end institution Roots, Fruits and Flowers for a chat with Garth about the business he’s been successfully running for more than 30 years.
Although they have downsized they still have a grocery store on Argyle Street and Great Western Road and a florist and greengrocer on Great Western Road.
You can browse their products online here https://www.rootsfruitsandflowers.com/ but I would recommend a trip in person.
This is just a very small selection of the independent shops trading across the constituency – there are many, many more but they can only survive if you use them! Buy local this Christmas and throughout the year!
The Scottish Parliament has rejected the UK Government’s draft Brexit deal and has ruled out a ‘no deal’ Brexit option.
The UK Government’s Brexit deal will make Scotland poorer and they must now listen and act on the Scottish Parliament’s overwhelming decision to reject it.
In every area of Scotland there will be businesses, organisations, communities, people and families who will suffer, directly suffer, over a long period of time under this proposed deal.
The Scottish Parliament came together to say we cannot let this happen, and the UK Government must now respect this decisive vote.
Another fabulous night at the annual Nordoff Robbins Scottish Music Awards and look who I bumped into!
This was a particularly special night as they celebrate their 20th annual awards – a great achievement with special thanks to Donald Macleod who has shown huge commitment and dedication.
There was a great line up to entertain the crowd including newly inducted Scottish Music Hall of Fame Susan Boyle who performed Wild Horses and the legendary Annie Lennox was also inducted.
Other highlights included performances from Snow Patrol, Amy MacDonald, Tom Grennan and Kyle Falconer and compere Sanjeev Kholi.
This is always a very special night for the Scottish music industry, recognising and showcasing our incredible talent!
Anyone making a new claim for Universal Credit faces spending the festive season without money. The in-built wait of a minimum of five weeks before payment means that anyone making a claim this week will need to survive until January without money to which they are entitled.
The Scottish Government cannot change Universal Credit. It’s a benefit delivered by the UK Government. However, they do have limited powers to make the delivery of Universal Credit better suited to the needs of people.
Since last year, our Universal Credit Scottish choices have given people the choice to receive their Universal Credit award twice monthly and have the housing costs paid directly to their landlord.
The Scottish Government are spending significant amounts to mitigate the worst effects of UK Government cuts and support those on low incomes – £125 million this year alone – £20 million more than last year. The system is an utter shambles and requires fundamental changes to make it fit for purpose.
World Aids Day
Every year on 1 December people around the world come together to mark World AIDS Day.
It’s a day that is internationally recognised to help increase awareness of HIV, challenge stigma, raise money and improve education. Many people also use the day to remember those who have died of AIDS.
2018 marks the 30th Annual World AIDS Day, which was the first ever global health day.
Big anniversaries offer the opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made in the fight against HIV over the past three decades and I was happy to join HIV Scotland in the Scottish Parliament to help promote the 30th Annual World Aids Day.