Thursday 5 September 2019
Summer in the Constituency
Welcome back everyone! It was great to have a good few weeks out and about in the constituency. I had the pleasure of joining the local fire brigade (pictured above) in their endeavours to fundraise for Kelbourne Park School. This is a unique school teaching nursery and primary aged children who require additional educational, medical and therapeutic input.
I also attended the ceremony on Sunday 1 September to mark the anniversary of the first attack on Poland in 1939, which resulted in the start of the Second World War.
I joined members of the Polish Combatants Memorial Group in Scotland to lay wreaths at the Panels of History and Sacrifice on the Memorial Wall at General Sikorski House in Kelvingrove.
The ceremony was very moving and a fitting commemoration of such an abhorrent attack.
It was a pleasure to be invited to spend time with members of the Polish Combatants Memorial Group and their supporters after the laying of the flowers and I was honoured to be part of the commemoration.
The First Minister announced the Programme for Government this week with a raft of new Bills including:
Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment) Bill; Forensic Medical Services (Victims of Sexual Offences) Bill; Budget Bill; Good Food Nation Bill; Circular Economy Bill; Hate Crime Bill; Civil Partnership Bill; Heat Networks Bill; Continuity Bill; Redress (Survivors of In Care Abuse) Bill; Defamation and Malicious Publication Bill; Rural Support Bill; UEFA European Championship Bill and Transient Visitor Levy Bill.
It sets out actions which will make a difference for years to come. It details measures which can help make our country the best in the world to grow up, learn, work and live. It meets the challenges of the future, while staying true to our enduring values.
However, alongside these crucial steps, the Scottish Government will continue to plan for the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and, as long as this remains a risk, the Scottish Government will work as hard as they can to mitigate the impact on families, communities and businesses across the country.
You can view the full Programme for Government here: https://www.gov.scot/programme-for-government/
Mission Aviation Fellowship
Look at what was parked outside the Parliament on Tuesday! My colleague Linda Fabiani MSP was hosting a reception in Parliament on behalf of Mission Aviation Fellowship – you may have come across their work via the church, or through other humanitarian organisations.
For over 70 years, MAF has been flying light aircraft over jungles, mountains, swamps and deserts. They enable over 2,000 aid, development and mission organisations to bring medical care, emergency relief, long-term development and spiritual hope to thousands of communities.
They reach out to the most isolated of people in the remotest of places and their pilots and personnel deliver relief workers, doctors, pastors, school books, food, medicines – everything that can only be safely and speedily delivered by air.
You can find out more about their work here: https://www.maf-uk.org/
The Scottish Parliament will welcome a range of leading public figures such as Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, journalist and broadcaster Andrew Marr, and TV’s Dr Rangan Chaterjee, as part of this year’s Festival of Politics.
Taking place from Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th October, this year’s programme looks back at past events, and thinks ahead to future debates on the issues that shape our political and cultural landscape. With sessions featuring Brexit, next year’s US presidential election, Islamophobia and the 20th anniversary of devolution.
The Festival offers people in Scotland the chance to engage and contribute directly alongside MSPs, journalists, academics and commentators on many of the biggest issues we face.
You can find out more here: https://www.festivalofpolitics.scot/
The UK spending round has failed to provide the certainty needed to prepare for the future of the Scottish budget, according to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.
Despite promising a three-year spending review, the UK Government has undertaken a one-year spending round which does not include the economic forecasts and tax decisions needed to set the context for the Scottish budget.
The money announced this week will fail to mitigate the harm caused to Scotland’s economy and public services if we leave the EU without a deal on October 31st. Scotland’s economy is already being impacted by Brexit austerity.
The Scottish Government are continuing to do all they can to prepare for a ‘no deal’ Brexit and provide as much certainty and stability as possible for Scotland’s economy and public finances.
It was a pleasure to meet with the great, great, great nephew of Suffragette Ms Isabel Cowe in parliament this week when he was exhibiting the story of her quite remarkable life.
In October 1912 Ms Cowe helped organise and participate in the gruelling 400 mile Suffrage March from Edinburgh to London.
The aim was to procure signatures en-route before carrying the Votes for Women petition to the then Prime Minister H.H. Asquith.
They were known as The Brown women in their brown coats, green hats and white scarfs marched up to 15 miles per day stopping to speak at meetings and rallys along the way.
They set off on 21st October and arrived in London on 16 November and were met by 5000 sympathisers at Camden Station before being escorted to Trafalgar Square.
The march was funded by the Womens Freedom League.
As Co-Convener of the Cross Party Group on Palestine and an ardent supporter of justice for Palestinians I contributed to the members debate this week in Parliament.
You can access my contribution and the full debate here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12225&i=110453