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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
15th May
2008


I’m catching up on two weeks here because I missed last week with all the fuss over getting out to an event in the evening after posing for the official Parliament photograph.

So, here goes with a couple of week’s diary pieces:

I’ve been in discussion with the bid team for the Children’s Olympics 2011.  I’m supporting the bid by Lanarkshire (North and South) to host the 2011 Games.  The Games are in San Francisco this year, Bahrain next year, and Athens in 2010, so Lanarkshire would seem to be the ideal choice for 2011 and a nice wee taster for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow three years later.  Who knows, some of the competitors in the one might even appear in the other.

Then we had a day of action on the 3rd of May to mark a year since the election that the SNP won.  We were out on the streets across the country handing out leaflets explaining what we had done so far and what the vision for the future is.  I was in Hamilton during the day and the response, I think, was fantastic.  Then it was off to Edinburgh in the evening to show face at a surprise barbecue being held to celebrate the 30th birthday of our head of press and research – a good day and night in the company of nationalists.

In Parliament over the last two weeks, one of the committees (Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture) I sit on has been examining Linda Fabiani’s Creative Scotland Bill.  The witnesses all seem broadly in favour of the Bill but some of the opposition MSPs seem determined to find fault with the Bill, so I’m sure we can expect some fun and games when we’re preparing the report back to Parliament on the Bill.

The other committee I sit on (Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments) has just finished considering changes to the Code of Conduct for MSPs and a review of the way Points of Order are used in the chamber – highly exciting and captivating stuff (honestly, I’m glad we’re through that.

It was off to a book launch last Wednesday too – the Good Mayor, written by the Political Editor of the Scottish Sun, Andy Nicoll, it’s actually a beautiful and tender love story and not quite what I expected from one of the big bears of the Scottish political press pack.  It’s currently book of the month in Waterstone’s, and I recommend it to you – a great read.

Thursday last week I was off to a transport dinner sponsored by Stagecoach at Ochtertyre near Crieff (attended by politicians from all parties and both Parliaments) – a gorgeous event in lovely surroundings.

On the Friday morning I was off to see rehearsals for plays by a new theatre company called Fiendish Plot – looks like it will be good, you can get details from their website at
http://fiendishplot.mysite.orange.co.uk/

Sunday morning was down to Strathclyde country Park for the Motor Neurone Disease fun run.  I’ve got a lot of time for this charity – my father suffered from MND for some years.  I’m delighted to say that a fair bit of money was raised at this event, including more than Ł600 from one family.  I took some photographs as well:

 

Then we were on to Monday and the STUC’s Learning Academy was launched at Glasgow City Chambers.  The Scottish Union Learning Fund has been expanded this year by the SNP Scottish Government, and the Academy has been launched to give lots more people the chance to learn new skills through their unions – I was delighted to be able to support the scheme.

Choices for Life was at the SECC in Glasgow on Monday afternoon as well.  The Choices for Life programme gives young people information about drugs and alcohol, teaching school pupils about how peer pressure can be very hard to resist and helping them to establish themselves as confident people so they can decide for themselves what they want to do in life.

The Scheme is run by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency and the participating children end up with a better knowledge of drugs and a better idea of how they can choose as well as having had a great time.  Another initiative well worth supporting, really driving the message home and making sure that young people have the knowledge they need and the courage to make their own decisions.

Back to Parliament and a couple of things happening – there were the Foster Carers Associates with a display and information to highlight some of the issues that some children have to live with.  Some of the stories are heart-rending and some of the poetry written by the children.  The exhibition and the book associated are called “Rattle Your Cool” – and they do.  You can learn more about the FCA at www.thefca.co.uk and this is me with Jo Derrick, Assistant Director, FCA Scotland:


At the FCA stall

Tuesday night after Standards and Procedures Committee I was sponsoring an event in Parliament where Mercy Corps brought teachers from East Timor and pupils from schools round about and showed us videos they had made of their areas as part of their global citizenship learning.  Fantastic videos, and an excellent presentation, made all the more intriguing by Linda Fabiani’s welcome which began and ended in Tetun – the language of the East Timorese.  I suppose that, having been there for the independence referendum and having gone back since, she must have picked up some of the language, but I’m surprised that she was so fluent.

Then I was off to the first night of Scottish Ballet’s production Romeo and Juliet at the Festival Theatre – there are some real advantages to this job.  Excellent production – I’d recommend that as well.

Tonight I’m off to the NASUWT AGM dinner in Cumbernauld followed by their conference tomorrow (although I’ll have to cut the conference a bit short because I’ve got some constituency cases that need me to be in Motherwell.

This weekend I’ll be at the Davie Cooper soccer 7s – watch out for me becoming famous scoring goals for Scotland.

Something else interesting that I’ve just remembered – there’s a photographer taking shots of all the MSPs for an exhibition, and he’s sent me a copy of my photo – I’ll have to ask Alastair if he can put that up on the Flag website instead of my old one.  What do you think of it?


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