Ebrief

Ebrief

30 January 2020

Alasdair Gray

01.20 Hillhead Mural

It was an honour to lead my members debate in Parliament on Tuesday evening celebrating the life and works of Alasdair Gray.

Alasdair Gray’s body of work has influenced, engaged, inspired and entertained and, more importantly, is a lasting legacy to a cultural giant.

I had the incredible opportunity to be immortalised by Alasdair in his wonderful mural at Hillhead Subway Station. It was such an honour to be included in one of his many artworks. I will remember fondly the sittings at his studio and the great chats we had about Glasgow and politics!

01.20 Group Alasdair Gray

We should all see ourselves as custodians of his work and I would like to offer my support to the idea of a fund created in his name to assist artists and writers in developing Scottish identity as suggested by his publisher Francis Bickmore from Canongate Books.

I would also champion the proposal of a mural here in the Scottish Parliament which Alasdair’s assistant Nick Wheatley had been working on – this would sit well with his words which are engraved on the Scottish Parliament building.

Alasdair’s friend and gallerist Sorcha Dallas has the responsibility of taking forward the Alasdair Gray Archive and I would hope to see support for this which will truly safeguard Alasdair’s work as well as allowing it to be utilised which is what he wanted for everything he created!

01.20 Alasdair Gray memorial book

I’d like to highlight the forthcoming exhibition which Alasdair was looking forward to at the Glasgow Print Studios. Omnium Gatherum will take place from 7 February 2020 until 12 April 2020. It is incredibly sad that he did not get to see his work displayed at an institution he had been such a huge part of over many years.

Hillhead Library which Alasdair was a frequent visitor currently has a book of condolence. This will move to Riddrie Library where his life began.

Alasdair will be mourned by everyone he touched. We are incredibly fortunate to have had such a formidable, creative force of whom I had the pleasure to know and his legacy will live on.

You can watch the debate here: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/members-business-alasdair-gray-a-creative-force-january-28-2020

Referendum

A majority of MSPs endorsed the right of the people of Scotland to have a say over their future in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

Polls indicate most Scots believe that the Scottish Parliament, rather than Westminster, should decide whether there should be an independence referendum.

A Survation poll published this month found that 61% of Scots believed the matter should be for Holyrood, with only 39% believing Westminster should decide.

In a democracy, when the facts change people have the right to change their mind.

Electric Buses

01.20 CTG Bus Launch

I was delighted to attend the launch of Community Transport Glasgow’s first all-electric minibus at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens last week. The buses will serve elderly and vulnerable people across the city.

This initiative is part of Scottish Power Energy Networks Green Fund and will serve elderly and vulnerable people across the city.

I was joined by Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Network, Elaine C. Smith and Graham Dunn from Community Transport Glasgow as well as the most important people – the service users.

This is a fantastic initiative and I already have a group of users coming through to the Parliament courtesy of the new mini bus!

Student Accommodation

Great news this week from Glasgow City Council with the launch of an eight-week consultation on the revision of student accommodation across the city. With a huge vibrant student population within the city we need to accommodate both their needs and the needs of the local communities.

Many of you will know my opinion on this subject but I warmly welcome the proposals within the consultation.

The aim is to create better quality accommodation and improve integration between new student accommodation and existing communities.

Areas of concentration where there are high volumes of student accommodation include South Partick/Yorkhill, the area surrounding Glasgow University and Townhead, a neighbourhood east of Glasgow Caledonian University and North of Strathclyde.

The local authority believes that further development of purpose built student accommodation would likely undermine residential amenity in these areas and will therefore resist any further applications for developments of this nature in these areas.

EU Flag

01.20 EU FlagOur MEPs had their last few days in Brussels this week as the clock ticks forward to 31 January.

It was a moving sight to see MEPs from across Europe sing Auld Lang Syne in the chamber on their last sitting day.

Two Scottish Government buildings in Edinburgh, St Andrew’s House and Victoria Quay, will be lit in blue and yellow, the colours of the European flag in addition the European flag will be flown at St Andrew’s House and Victoria Quay, as well as at Scotland House in Brussels.

What lies ahead is uncertain. For those EU nationals living here in Scotland and who require any assistance please do not hesitate to contact my office on 0141 339 7693 or drop in at 1274 Argyle Street, if this is not convenient you can always email me at sandra.white.msp@parliament.scot 

Students

A wide-ranging Government independent research project is being launched to better understand the needs of students who are estranged from their parents or guardians.

The move – believed to be the first ever in Scotland – will inform any future potential changes to support for estranged students.

A special arrangement to support estranged students is currently in place to ensure they are not subject to means-testing. Any such students in higher education have access to a minimum income of £7,750 through a combination of bursaries and loans, and those in further education can access a maximum bursary of £4,500.

Holocaust Memorial

01.20 Holocaust MemorialThe Holocaust Memorial Trust arranges each year for a Book of Commitment to be hosted at the Scottish Parliament. Members are encouraged to sign the Book to pledge their support and commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day.

There was also a reception held in the Scottish Parliament to mark the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 25th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide.

We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and other genocides around the world, which are a stark reminder of the inhumanity and violence that bigotry and intolerance can wreak if left unchallenged.

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