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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
4th March 2010


3D will do for me

I finally gave in and took the kids to see Avatar 3D last weekend and it was amazing, I was mesmerised – and I did look rather cool in those funky specs.  I was tempted to try them out in Parliament but some things just shouldn’t be visually enhanced.  It’s nice to get a wee break from politics from time to time, it refreshes you and lets you get right back into the swing of things.

I met the young cadets involved in the celebrations at the 150th Anniversary event at the Science Centre in Glasgow.  I was impressed with the dedication and motivation of the young people involved.  They came from different socio-economic backgrounds and demonstrated that all kinds of folks can mix and work together for the common good and personal development.

I got the chance to hear a young woman from East Kilbride tell her story about how she was making a few wrong choices in her life before she got involved with the cadets and how joining them helped her to rethink what she was doing and start making the right choices.  She has gone on to be a committed adult volunteer, win bravery awards and, most recently, be nominated as Scotswoman of the Year.  A success story!  A senior officer also told me that everything they do is now matched up to the Curriculum for Excellence.

I then met with a brilliant organisation called Medical Justice (http://www.medicaljustice.org.uk/) which visits and cares for people in detention, doing excellent work and I am hoping to work with them on a project in Scotland in the near future.

 Off up to Oban on Monday with the Education Committee as part of our inquiry into education spending in schools.  We visited two schools on a joint campus; St Columba’s and Rockfield and I was very impressed with the work being done and how well behaved and polite the pupils were.  I don’t remember pupils being so well behaved in my school days (except me, of course).  They are a credit to their school and to their parents.  I’ll tell you, though, an extra benefit to that visit to Oban was the fantastic scenery on the drive back – our country is fabulous.

Back in the city I joined a group of young people involved in work that allows them to look at dangerous behaviour and the impact that it has.  A set of situational scenes shocks the audience into experiencing some things that young people face every day; vandalism, bullying, domestic abuse and violence with a lot of it linked to alcohol abuse.  These are youngsters who are going out of their way to build a better future.

A brilliant part of my job (one of the very best bits) is being honoured to host events in Scotland’s Parliament, and this week was extra special – I hosted a smashing event this week; the parliamentary reception for the Middle East Youth Festival (http://beta.globalcitizencorps.org/blog/2009/10/middle-east-youth-festival-edinburgh-scotland) where we came together with peer educators, including some from Scotland, and the Scottish Youth Parliament.  The talent and motivation of our young people never ceases to amaze me, I said at the reception that with these wonderful young people showing us that they are global citizens our world is in good hands – youth from Lebanon, Jordan, America, Ireland and Scotland showing off their skills.

Back to auld claes an parritch today, though, and into the chamber for a debate on education and how we have to equip the school pupils of today with the tools they’ll need to compete in the global marketplace which is opening up further and further all the time.  I focussed on the need for a greater emphasis on language teaching and broadening the international horizons of our youngsters – it’ll be up on the Official Report bit of Parliament’s website at eight in the morning if you want to read it.

So there it is – another week done and another week of celebrating Scotland.  We’re edging closer and closer to the UK election, so we can expect more of our free time to be taken up with campaigning.  Still, onwards and upwards, 3D specs all round!


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