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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
11th March 2010


In a rush

I haven’t got time to write much this week, I’m in a right rush to get things done, so just a few wee quick things to note:

  • Police numbers – there are more than 1,000 more police officers in Scotland since we came to power in 2007, fulfilling one of our manifesto commitments – and 509 of them are in Strathclyde.  Funnily enough, that’s the second time we’ve fulfilled this pledge.
  • Lanarkshire NHS hit its targets for dealing with referrals, both in-patient and out-patient, the target is to have them seen within twelve weeks, NHS Lanarkshire did that on 100% of occasions.  Patients getting seen and getting treated – that’s what the NHS is supposed to be about.
  • There were 11,580 respite care weeks provided in Lanarkshire last year, up by 1,520 on the last year that Labour was in power.  Carers need a bit of time to recover and recharge their own batteries in order to carry on taking care of their family members 24 hours a day; I’m pleased we’ve increased the weeks of respite that they get.

Things are good with the SNP in charge! 

There’s more sobering news as well, though.  Last week another soldier was brought home for burial – this time he was from Hamilton.  22 year-old Corporal Johnathan Moore of the Royal Scots Borderers was killed in action in Sangin in Afghanistan.  We send soldiers to war zones and some of them come home in coffins to their grieving families.  However much politicians argue about war aims we should keep in mind that these men and women go to do in our name that which we are not willing to do ourselves and we only sleep peacefully in our beds at night because they stand ready to do violence and face violence on our behalf.  Members of our armed services who die in the line of duty demand our respect and our abiding remembrance of their service and their sacrifice; we are behoven to them and our debt remains unpaid.

The respect we have for them should be reflected in the way we care for the communities they stand to protect, how we treat each other and how we build a better future.  There’s a pledge from the new police inspector in Hamilton to crack down on drug dealing, anti-social behaviour and violent crime.  Inspector Gillian Scott seems like just the kind of senior police officer we need in Hamilton and I look forward to working with her in the times to come.

While we’re talking about respect, we’ve heard a lot about Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) recently and not much of it has been very good news so it’s a wee pleasure to note that SPT is to upgrade the bus station in Hamilton with the first stage happening over the next couple of years.  There’sa  public consultation on the plans now, and they can be seen in SPT’s Travel Centre beside the bus station.  If you want to make your views known, I’m sure SPT will be listening carefully these days.

In another town (one we call London), there’s the unpalateable spectacle of MPs seeking to use the 1688 English Bill of Rights to avoid prosecution for expenses fraud.  The Bill of Rights was the invitation to William and Mary to take over the sovereignty of the United Kingdom in return for granting a few freedoms, one of which was:

That the Freedome of Speech and Debates or Proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place out of Parlyament.”

I take it that is the bit they’re founding their case on.  How they think they can argue that expenses claims (which I assume did not exist in 1688) are the proceedings of Parliament is beyond me, though, surely the proceedings are what goes on in Parliament – the reports, the happenings in committees, the actions of MPs as MPs?  Unless, of course, they’re trying to argue that an offence committed inside the Palace of Westminster shouldn’t go to court?  If you want to murder your MP – do it in the House of Commons …

Just before I dash off, two things coming up – a vigil at Dungavel on Sunday to mark Mothers’ Day, starting at 1pm, please feel free to turn up, it’s about being quiet and dignified and making a quiet stand against the UK’s asylum system, it’s not rowdy.  The staff at Dungavel do the best possible job in difficult circumstances but the asylum system needs changed.

And the other thing is barbecued politician – I’m doing a firewalk to raise funds for MND Scotland at Falkirk stadium on Friday night.  If you’d like to sponsor me or just give a donation to help research into Motor Neurone Disease, visit www.justgiving.com/christina-mckelvie-msp

Speak soon.

Christina


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