And so we crawl, exhausted
across the finish line of a parliamentary year, heading into
the summer recess and the chance to recharge the batteries –
barring bye-elections and General Elections. Parliament
rose for the summer today after passing stage 1 of the
Arbitration Bill, and a Sewel motion for the Holocaust
(Return of Cultural Objects) Bill. That means no more
Parliamentary sessions until the end of August – which gives
me two months to catch up on constituency business and (so
my staff say) to think of a multitude of things to keep them
busy. I sometimes think that they prefer it when I’m busy
in the chamber and committee rooms! They’ve got an
interesting couple of months ahead.
Lots of you will know Aileen
Campbell MSP – she’s getting married during recess, so I’m
sure her time will be even more full than mine and we
gathered in her office at the end of business today to wish
her luck. On a related matter, if you take the BBC
devolution quiz at
find a question about who the youngest MSP is. I won’t give
away the answer but I will tell you that Aileen beats me by
a week or two. I can also tell you that there are one or
two MSPs who were not best pleased that I was one of the
possible answers – they must think they’re younger than me!
I had my first Member’s Debate
on Wednesday this week – on the subject of social work and
social workers. I was recently made a Social Work Champion
(someone who champions social work and social workers rather
than a champion at social work) and I thought it would be a
good subject to have a debate on. You can read the debate
online at Parliament’s website:
it seems that it was a good subject matter for the debate –
I think we should celebrate the hard work done by people who
work day after day in some of the most challenging
circumstances of all.
The work done by social workers
and social carers is important; they are society’s
Improvement Corps and they are the ones who are there when
no-one else is. We have cause to be grateful to people like
social workers – without them our communities would be
suffering a lot more than they are just now. There’s a lot
of criticism gets levelled at social workers, especially
when evil acts are perpetrated on youngsters and a slice of
the media, a handful of politicians and a few egg-head
commenters look for a scapegoat. It isn’t fair and it
doesn’t help. The evil acts are committed by evil people
and the social workers are the people trying to stop them.
It’s no better when politicians use it as a political
football, seeking to score some political points – we should
be supporting and helping our social workers, not doing them
down at every opportunity.
Straight out of chamber after
the debate and off to a Parliamentary reception I was
hosting for the regeneration of the Easterhouse Project. I
told you a bit about it back on the 19th of March
but I was delighted to be able to welcome BARTARA, David Sye
and the local police Chief Inspector Helen Swann to
Parliament for a viewing of the documentary clip that’s
being used to try to sell the idea of a documentary about
the project. The film-maker was there as well. I hope that
gets the go-ahead.
Today I had the privilege of
welcoming Donald MacDonald and his son Euan for lunch and a
wee look around Parliament, including First Minister’s
Questions. I know them through MND Scotland and was
delighted to have the opportunity to let them see around
Scotland’s Parliament and I think they enjoyed their day.
It’s a mark of how well the building was thought through and
how well it was built that Euan’s wheelchair could get up to
the public gallery, through to the restaurant for lunch and
up to the offices afterwards with little difficulty.
Before I head off towards home
to start planning my recess visits and the extra work I’ve
just got time to tell you about the Climate Change Bill that
we passed this week. It should change the landscape of
environmental legislation, not just here but around the
world. It truly is world-leading legislation. As the
Governor of California who said:
change is a global problem that requires a global solution.
California has set aggressive greenhouse gas reduction
targets, but we need the help of the world to tackle the
most pressing environmental issue of our time.
ambitious and comprehensive targets encourage other nations
to step up to the plate as we look toward an international
agreement in Copenhagen, and it sends a message to the world
that we must act now and we must act swiftly."
We should believe him – he’s
been to the future and he’s got total recall …