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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
17th April
2008


Back to Parliament this week after recess.  I keep telling people that MSPs actually do work during recess, itís not a holiday, but no-one seems to believe me!  Even my friends think that MSPs are off when Parliament isnít sitting Ė I should be so lucky, Martha keeps me on the go all the time, she tells me Iíve got more time to do things out and about because I donít have to go through to Edinburgh!

 

Never thought Iíd look forward to sitting in the Education committee for the recuperation value!  It was actually a very interesting session this week, with us taking evidence about the school estate from, among others, Audit Scotland. 

 

Audit Scotland is the watchdog on Scotlandís public money, and it has a beady eye which follows every penny spent.  Six years ago the auditor reported that PFI was a more expensive way of paying for public services than the traditional procurement model, and this week we asked the auditors whether theyíd ever updated that research.  They hadnít Ė but they will now, and weíll have some serious research to show how best to pay for public services.  That should help the debate weíre currently having.

 

Talking of debates, Scotland Week in North America caused a wee bit of a flutter here.  Some people objected to the change of name, saying that tartan was Scotlandís most recognisable piece of branding around the world.  It probably is, but the Americans call it plaid, so Tartan Week didnít mean anything to them.

 

Our Ministers made a bit of a splash in the US and in Canada Ė where my colleague Linda Fabiani (whoís Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture) even found the time to meet up with the Flag-waver-in-chief Alastair McIntyre and she and the First Minister, Alex Salmond, led a parade through New York.

 

 

There have been some grumbling voices, though, with some criticising the decision to make the event more about selling Scotland abroad than about politicians having a beano together.  Personally, I think that itís better for Scotland to have our politicians making sure that Scotland is well regarded.

 

Also in New York were the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who have been taking the world by storm with their own very particular brand of piping.  That vibrancy is what we need for selling Scotland to the world.

 

 

Scotland Week was the subject of Alexís statement to Parliament this week when he reported back on how things had gone, and that got us back into the swing of chamber duties, and we were back into the programme of delivery for Scotland.

 

Weíre looking forward to Spring Conference this weekend and to gearing the party up for another election and another possibility Ė the European election next year and the Westminster election whenever Gordon Brown has the guts to call it.

 

Whisper this Ė I might have to sneak out of Alexís speech to conference before he finishes because Iím heading off to the Player of the Year awards in Glasgow.  Donít tell him, will you?  Iíll let you know later how it goes.


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