Da Vinci Stamps

02.19 Da Vinci StampsThe Royal Mail launched its Leonardo da Vinci stamp issue at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and I had the opportunity to attend along with my colleague Alison Thewliss MP.

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, Kelvingrove Art Gallery will display 12 of the artist’s “finest” drawings from the Queen’s Royal Collection from February until May 2019.

Highlights of the exhibition in Glasgow include A star-of- Bethlehem and other plants c.1506-12 and the anatomy of a bear’s foot, c.1488-90.

The exhibition will run until 6 May 2019.

Fuel Poverty

A bill outlining new measures to tackle fuel poverty was debated in Parliament this week.

MSPs were asked to agree to the general principles of the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill, which has three main aims.

The first to set a target that, by 2040, no more than 5% of Scottish households are in fuel poverty with the second to establish a new definition of fuel poverty that better aligns fuel poverty with relative income poverty. Third, the Bill ensures that a new, long term Fuel Poverty Strategy be prepared, published and laid before Parliament – a draft of which has already been published and can be found here https://www.gov.scot/publications/draft-fuel-poverty-scotland-2018/ 


02.19 CairngormIt was great to meet up with representatives from the Cairngorms National Park.

This National Park is absolutely stunning. We are extremely lucky to have such a rich and varied natural environment not far from our urban centres. I can remember taking the funicular railway and when we reached the top I was completely overwhelmed by the amazing view and Scotland’s utter natural beauty.

The Cairngorms are currently consulting on their Local Development Plan which can be found at https://cairngorms.co.uk/consultation/proposed-plan/


A ‘No Deal’ Brexit could have a dramatic impact on Scotland’s economy, with the potential for national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to fall by up to 7%, according to a new report by the Scottish Government’s Chief Economist.

The paper, ‘No Deal’ Brexit – Economic Implications for Scotland, sets out two potential ’No Deal’ scenarios, one of which would see short term disruption to supply chains lasting for a number of months, with the second scenario looking at an extended period of disruption.

You can read the full report here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/deal-brexit-economic-implications-scotland/


02.19-dippy-dinosaur-e1550767568189.jpgFor those of you not familiar with Dippy he’s currently on tour from London and I’m photographed (again!) with my colleague Alison Thewliss MP checking him out.

Dippy is the Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton and part of his roadtrip includes stopping off at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. He arrived at Kelvingrove on 22 January and will remain there until 6 May 2019.

Dippy is on a mission… to inspire five million natural history adventures, encouraging families to explore the incredible natural history collections and biodiversity right on our doorstep in Glasgow.


I thought I would remind everyone about the opportunity offered by the Scottish Government to provide submissions to their consultations.

Please go to https://consult.gov.scot/consultation_finder/?sort_on=iconsultable_enddate&sort_order=ascending&advanced=1&st=open#cs-finder-results-container where you can access all consultations currently open.


02.19 Whales and DolphinsRepresentatives from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) were in Parliament this week highlighting their incredible work.

WDC works throughout Scotland, campaigning for greater protection of Scotland’s whales and dolphins.

They conduct field research, train local community groups, assist with strandings and run education initiatives from their Scottish Dolphin Centres in the Moray Firth (at Spey Bay and North Kessock).

More than 20 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise are found in the waters around Scotland and it is the best place in the UK to see a number of our whales and dolphins.

You can find out more about their work here: https://uk.whales.org/whales-and-dolphins

LGBT History Month

02.19 LGBT History MonthFebruary is LGBT History Month and on the last Friday of the month we celebrate Purple Friday – a day to stand against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and show our support for LGBTI equality.

In Scotland we celebrate Purple Friday in support of LGBT Youth Scotland. This day is all about taking action; standing for equality and inclusion and helping us make Scotland the best place for LGBTI young people to grow up.

The theme for 2019 is CATALYST: 50 years of activism. This theme marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings in New York in 1969, and the birth of the modern Pride movement.

Find out more here: https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/purple-friday-2019/

Glasgow Girl Honoured

Sandra White MSP has lodged a motion in Parliament congratulating human rights champion and one of the Glasgow Girls Amal Azzudin on her University of Glasgow World Changing Alumni Award.

Motion Number: S5M-15896
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 19/02/2019

Title: Glasgow Girl Amal Azzudin, Honoured with the World Changing Alumni Award

Motion Text:

That the Parliament congratulates Amal Azzudin, who has been presented with the World Changing Alumni Award by the University of Glasgow; notes that this honour is presented each year by the university to recognise and celebrate the achievements of a graduate over the last 15 years who has made a major contribution to the community, arts, science or business; believes that Amal has been deservedly recognised for her commitment to, and campaigning for, human rights and social justice; notes that this started when, as a teenager, she was one of the seven “Glasgow Girls”, the group of school friends from Drumchapel High School that campaigned and stood up against dawn raids against, and the detention and deportation of, asylum seekers in Glasgow; acknowledges that the girls’ story has since been shown as a documentary, stage musical and television drama; notes that Amal is the Equality and Human Rights Officer for the Mental Health Foundation in Scotland; understands that she primarily manages its refugee programme, including the Sawti project; notes that, as well as this, she is also an ambassador for the Scottish Refugee Council; recognises the incredible impact that it believes Amal has had in championing equality and human rights, and wishes her continued success.


Fopp Byres Road Saved

MSP Sandra White has welcomed the news that the closure of Fopp on Byres Road has been reversed due to an outpouring of support for the music shop and it’s staff from the local community in the West End as well as an array of musicians.

Ms White had initially lodged a parliamentary motion when the announcement was made to close the store last week and has again lodged a further motion welcoming the decision to keep the store open.

Ms White said:

“Fopp started it’s life in the 80’s here in Glasgow and grew to become the go to store for both the latest musical offerings as well as the obscure, championing musicians and new music.

“I along with many other people are delighted to hear that the new owners Sunrise Records have listened to everyone who has voiced their support of this legendary West End music store and it’s doors will remain open continuing to provide a wealth of music  and knowledge.”

Ms White has lodged the following motion in Parliament:

Motion Number: S5M-15834
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 12/02/2019

Title: Fopp Byres Road Saved

Motion Text:

That the Parliament welcomes the news that, due to what it sees as the outcry from local people and musicians, the Fopp Byres Road branch will remain open; understands that the new owners were overwhelmed by the support given to the store by their loyal customers and overturned their decision to close the store; congratulates everyone involved in the campaign to save the store, and wishes the staff continued success.


Catalan Politicians on Trial

Sandra White MSP has today lodged the following motion in the Scottish Parliament highlighting the start of the trial of 12 political leaders and civic leaders at the Supreme Court in Madrid.

Motion Number: S5M-15829
Lodged By: Sandra White
Date Lodged: 12/02/2019

Title: Catalan Politicians on Trial

Motion Text:

That the Parliament notes with grave concern the legal proceedings that are commencing on 12 February 2019 in the Supreme Court in Madrid of the Catalan political pro-independence leaders and civic leaders who stand trial for organising and holding an independence referendum across Catalonia in 2017; understands  that 12 people will face trial accused of rebellion and sedition for their role and could face up to 25 years in prison; considers that the future of Catalonia is one that must be democratically taken by the people of Catalonia and their elected representatives, and not by the imprisonment of those elected representatives in order, it believes, to suppress Catalonia’s right to self-determination.



Thursday 7 February 2019

Chinese New Year

02.19 Chinese New Year.docxOn Sunday I was a guest of the Chinese Community Development Partnership (CCDP) to celebrate Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig.

I was joined by Provost Eva Bolander who also addressed the event to watch the performances from Glasgow Hong Lok Dragon and Lion Dancing Troupe, Glasgow Oriental Dancing Association, Hong Wo Tai Chi Association, Glasgow Chinese Basketball and Tai Chi Club, Glasgow Chinese Women’s Association, Amy Yuen and Tsuchigumo Daiko.

Annie Mead the Chairperson of CCDP opened the celebrations and the Consulate General Pan Xinchun gave an address.

This was a very special afternoon and my thanks go to everyone involved in the organisation of the event.

Celtic Connections

Celtic Connections is to be supported from the Expo Fund for the second year running, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced.

Ahead of this year’s successful event closing on 3 February, the Scottish Government has confirmed £100,000 for the 2020 event from the Expo Fund. The funding will deliver eight new works by Scottish composers, which will be developed by composer Greg Lawson into a single symphonic piece to be performed by the GRIT Orchestra.


02.19 Townhead Gardens 2

Once a month I hold my surgery at Townhead Village Hall Community Centre where the service from the staff and volunteers is fantastic.

They offer a friendly and flexible base for various community groups as well as excellent recreational facilities, a large accessible garden and Click and Connect Learning Centre.

If you have some spare time they are currently looking for volunteers to help in the café, garden area (and as you can see from the photo it’s a lovely space) and in general caretaking.

If you want to find out more about the centre or the volunteering opportunities go to http://www.townheadvillagehall.org.uk/news

Higher Education

With Glasgow Kelvin home to the majority of our further and higher education institutions I am increasingly concerned about the impact of the UK Government’s post-Brexit immigration policy on prospective EU students and universities.

In the event of a no deal, the UK Government is proposing a European Temporary Leave to Remain of three years, while the majority of degrees in Scotland are four years – meaning prospective students will be put off applying to Scottish universities with no guarantee they will be able to complete courses.

Around 9% of Scottish university students and 27% of full time research staff are EU nationals.

British Heart Foundation

02.19 BHFBritish Heart Foundation (BHF) were in the Parliament this week for their annual parliamentary reception.

It was great to meet up with their representatives including, fundraisers, volunteers, researchers, clinicians. As well as those living with the effects of heart and circulatory disease.

I had the opportunity to chat about the challenges that remain with the disease and how we can play a part in combatting it.


The use and regulation of fireworks is the focus of a public consultation which aims to ensure everyone can enjoy displays safely.

The consultation asks for views on issues such as whether the sale of fireworks to the public should be banned, and what other measures can help ensure fireworks are used safely and responsibly.

Responses will inform on-going discussions about whether changes to legislation and regulation of fireworks in Scotland are needed, following concerns about their misuse and the potential impact on public safety and animal welfare.

Legislation on the sale and storage of fireworks is reserved to the UK Government while laws covering their use is devolved.

You can access the consultation here: https://consult.gov.scot/safer-communities/fireworks/


02.19 BrewgooderI had the pleasure of meeting up with representatives from Brewgooder in the Parliament this week to chat to them about the work they are doing.

Set up in 2016 they had a simple mission – to provide clean water for 1,000,000 people through the power of craft beer by donating 100% of their profits to clean water charities.

Clean Water Lager was borne and they now have almost 1,000 backers, over 30 bars, bottleshops and restaurants helping to raise money.

They have funded 60 projects for over 33,000 people in Malawi since 2016 and their mission is to never stop until they hit their target of 1,000,000 people impacted by great beer.

If you would like to find out more or find a stockist visit: https://www.brewgooder.com/browse

Bowel Screening

A new, simpler bowel screening test has seen levels of participation rise to a record high.

Scotland was the first part of the UK to introduce the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) in November 2017. The new test requires the collection of just one sample, rather than three over a 10 day period as was previously the case.

Statistics show that from November 2017 to April 2018, 64% of those eligible returned their FIT. In the same period the year before, uptake of the old test (the Faecal Occult Blood Test) was 56%.

The biggest improvement in participation with FIT has been amongst those living in the most deprived areas – up from 42.0% to 51.8%.

The number of men doing the test also rose by more than nine percentage points, from 52.6% to 61.8% and there has been a marked increase (8.2% to 18.4%) in uptake amongst those who had never participated before, but previously had the opportunity to.

You can find out more here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/screening


02.19 Forces Reading ProjectReading Force were exhibiting in the Scottish Parliament this week and I had the opportunity to have a chat with their representatives about the scheme.

It is an innovative project set up in 2011 by Dr Alison Baverstock whose husband served in the armed forces.

It’s a shared reading activity that helps keep Service families close and connected by selecting a book and reading it together even if some family members are not at home using either Skype or Facebook.

There is also a scrapbook which all members of the family can contribute to making everyone feel part of a shared experience. This is particularly important for those members who are on active duty away from the family home.

You can find out more here: https://www.readingforce.org.uk/


02.19 SP Logo At 20Young people from across Scotland are being asked to send a letter to the Scottish Parliament setting out their hopes and aspirations for the institution over the next 20 years.

A selection of the letters will be included in a new book published by Luath Press in June to commemorate the Scottish Parliament’s 20th anniversary. The book will also include a series of essays from well-known authors, academics and others which explore how well the Parliament is placed to tackle the big issues facing Scotland in the future.

The competition is being held in partnership with Young Scot who want to engage young people in this important milestone of Scotland’s democracy. The winning letters will be chosen by a panel chaired by the Presiding Officer.

The book is being joint edited by Professor James Mitchell, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh and Dr Jim Johnston, a clerk at the Parliament. It will have a wide-ranging number of contributors with a range of experience of working with the Parliament including the Auditor General for Scotland and the author James Robertson. The authors will provide critical insights of the Parliament and crucially look to the future.

You can find out more here: https://rewards.youngscot.org/activities/2864-submit-dear-scottish-parliament